The Member Gallery exhibition, The Many Faces of Gale Bennett, will feature a collection of portraits of Bennett by his workshop students.
Most pieces in the exhibition will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Alliance for the Arts.
At the Opening Reception on Friday, February 7, 2014 from 5 to 7:30 pm, a book on Bennett's art and method of teaching art will be released. Eyes into Art, begun by the artist more than 30 years ago, was completed by Cello Bennett with the assistance of a committee of 15 artists, all former participants in Gale Bennett workshops both in Southwest Florida and at his famed ArtStudy Giverny in Giverny, France. Most of the committee members will be on hand at the Opening Reception to autograph copies. Committee members are Sanibel residents Marcy Calkins, Sheila Hoen, Jane Hudson, and Marilyn Miglio; Cape Coral residents Paula Eckerty, Barbara Mintz, and Joanna Olsen; Fort Myers resident Barbara Wilson and former resident Pat Dunn (now of Nashville, TN); Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte residents Liz Hutchinson-Sperry, Jane Geronime, and the late Muriel Van Patten, as well as Gayle Keith Ashley of Useppa and Caroline Homes Nuckolls of Marietta, GA.
Gale Bennett can justifiably be called Southwest Florida's most renowned native artist and art teacher. During the years from 1996 to 2007 he welcomed nearly 1,000 artists to his workshops in Monet's famous village of Giverny where they enjoyed the rare privilege of painting in Monet's Gardens seven days a week. Bennett also regularly exhibited his paintings atexhibitions in Giverny and Paris. It’s not surprising then that Bennett has been called “one who could justly lay claim to the title of successor to the great Monet” by French magazine, Plaisir de peindre, in “Gale Bennett; the Heir from America” in 2002.
In 1975 the Alliance for the Arts opened with a Gale Bennett retrospective. In 2004 the Alliance again featured Bennett's works in the highly popular exhibition When Florida Meets Normandy. Jay Williams, Curator of the Vero Beach Museum of Art and former Curator of what is now the Rauschenberg Gallery at Edison College, said this about Bennett and the exhibit, “Gale Bennett’s landscape paintings remind us of the essential harmony underlying sensory experience. The poetic composition of his lines and forms corresponds to a larger truth, the human need for connection to the binding energy within nature--a nameless but very real presence that saturates his canvasses. Bennett’s work bridges the sensibility of Corot, Rousseau and the Barbizon painters with the tradition of abstraction found in the works of Kandinsky, Hoffman, and de Kooning. In Bennett’s paintings visual experience undergoes a kind of alchemy, what Degas called ‘a transformation in which imagination and memory work together.’ The works in this exhibition are evidence of that mysteriously powerful process. Every one is a love story, demonstrating to gallery visitors Bennett’s passion for the beauty of paint on canvas.”
In addition to teaching his popular life drawing class at the Alliance, Gale also taught painting and drawing workshops at BIG ARTS on Sanibel, at the Cape Coral Art Studio and at the Art League of Bonita Springs. He was honored twice by the "Angels of the Arts" – in 2006 as "Artist of the Year" and posthumously in 2008 for "Lifetime Achievement."
Other events connected with the GALE BENNETT 75 exhibition:
· "Walk and Talk" Saturday, February 15, 10-11 am, with Artists Pat Dunn and Marcy Calkins, both former Gale Bennett students and members of Eyes Into Art Book Committee
· "A Musical Evening with Cello and Friends," Wednesday, February 19, 7:30 pm, at the Foulds Theatre, Alliance for the Arts. Tickets are available through Theatre Conspiracy www.theatreconspiracy.org.
The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. in Ft. Myers, Florida. For information about the exhibit, call 239-939-2787. http://www.artinlee.org