Artists

Steve DiBenedetto


b. 1958, Bronx, New York

Selected Press

The New Yorker February 2014 

Goings on about Town: Art
Steve DiBenedetto

DiBenedetto does for octopuses and u.f.o.s what Cézanne did for apples and oranges (and what Guston did for bloodshot eyeballs), making paintings for painting’s sake. This fiendishly appealing small show of the artist’s collages begins with a swarming work held in place by straight pins, so its elements flutter like insects. It’s followed by compressed and agitated compositions in acid hues that seem ready to melt down into raw energy or whir off the page. Don’t miss the chapbook that accompanies the show, a visual index of DiBenedetto’s inspirations, from alchemical illustrations to “Easy Rider.” Through Feb. 25. (Half Gallery)

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The Wild Magazine February 2014 

Painter Steve DiBenedetto on Chaos and Overload
by Kate Messinger
photography by Kacie Tomita

Steve DiBenedetto’s chaotic yet fluid paintings, which have been featured at the Whitney, have taken a plunge toward the tactile in his recent show featuring a new collection of collages at Half Gallery. Using tape, old artwork and objects you might find of the floor of an artist studio, DiBenedetto’s work has layers, both physically and conceptually. We visited the artist in his studio in Long Island City for a view inside the process of creating chaos and a talk about the joy of overload in a world of minimal.

Read the full interview here.

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Purple Fashion Magazine 2013 

Steve DiBenedetto: American Artist
interview by Bill Powers

BILL POWERS — What is the relationship between the octopus and the helicopter in your work? Are they adversaries?

STEVE DIBENEDETTO — Not really. I have no specific agenda in terms of how they’re meant to interact. The one commonality they share is a hub-and-spoke format where both entities spring from a central axis. You can see that with other motifs in my work, Ferris wheels and UFOs, for instance.

Read the full interview here.

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Time Out New York Dec 2009 

Studio Visit: Steve DiBenedetto
By T.J. Carlin

I've heard you talk about the length of time it takes you to complete a painting. Is it always the same?

Usually they have to go through some really unpredictable stages. Typically a painting will start and feel like it's moving in a linear fashion, but then it ends up feeling completely dysfunctional—or actually too functional—and usually needs to have something traumatizing happen to it. So I end up getting ensnared. I feel like that's ultimately my process: It's sort of like having to weasel my way out.

Read the full interview here.

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New York Magazine June 2008 

Steve DiBenedetto: Chaoticus
By Jerry Saltz

The fabulous made-up title of this show says it all, as in "I am Chaoticus." For the last two decades Steve DiBenedetto has been pushing the optical properties of brushed paint not to their physical breaking point but to the point of cognitive warpage, the place where you don't know what you're looking at but love looking anyway. His paint handling has only grown bolder and more original. Meanwhile the imagery has been simplified and made more geometric: Giant organic skyscrapers look part Ork, part cyborg, and part mutant.

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The Brooklyn Rail- June 2008

Steve DiBenedetto: Chaoticus
by John Yau

Best known for his symbolic paintings--encrusted surfaces jam-packed with lattices, neural networks, cracked TV screens, helicopters, Ferris wheels, and octopi pushing against the painting's physical edges--Steve DiBenedetto first gained larger attention when his work was included in the eight-artist survey, "Remote Viewing: Invented Worlds in Recent Painting and Drawing," at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2005). In that exhibition, DiBenedetto's invented world was infused with elements derived from science fiction, the speculations of the ethno-botanist, Terence McKenna, and the visionary German architect and painter, Bruno Taut; and from surrealism, particularly Max Ernst and Oscar Dominguez. In their density of detail and horror vacui, the paintings seem to channel the wired, fanatically detail supernatural scenes of the Victorian painter, Richard Dadd, and JG Ballard's dystopian visions of a bleak, decaying, manmade landscape.

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Bomb Magazine- April 2008

David Humphrey Interviews Steve DiBenedetto
by David Humphrey

It's holiday time with family. I look down at my slice of fruit cake and am transported back to Steve DiBenedetto's studio with his paintings of jewel-like colors embedded in dense fields of sticky brown. I visited him a month ago to talk about his work and found not just his well-known visionary image-webs but a new group of paintings depicting invented glass and steel buildings. Memory and vision are folded into turbulent atmospheres of corporate strangeness. My sense must have been recalibrated as I'm now seeing DiBenedetto's work echoed in the ornamental snowflakes and strings of colored lights celebrated the birth of the crucified one.

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Art in America- April 2006

Steve DiBenedetto: Attack of the Cephalopods
by Matthew Guy Nichols

Unbeknownst to many, Steve DiBenedetto has been exhibiting his work since 1987, when his first solo show was mounted at New York's Cable Gallery. But his profile has risen considerably in the past five years as critics, curators and the art world at large have warmed to his densely congested paintings and drawings, which indulge an esthetic of over stimulation.

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Time Out New York- December 2005

Alchemical Reaction
by Andrea Scott

In a hallucinatory catalog essay co-written in 1966 by Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, an extraterrestrial comments on a canvas by the engineer of his spaceship: "I'm glad you're conventional, with no qualms about painting beautiful pictures. You have as much in common with Raphael as with the Surrealists, the Impressionists, the cave painters." This quote uncannily doubles as a description of Steve DiBenedetto's mind altering paintings and drawings. "Conventional" may not be the first word that comes to mind while viewing his current show at Nolan/Eckman Gallery: In many of the compositions, octopuses can be seen tangling with helicopters in settings that are by turns murky and lapidary. But the conventions of painting are among the main subjects of this belligerently beautiful work.

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