3/23 - 4/22, 2016: “Sentience” by Nicole Benner

Free and open to the public during gallery hours

3/23 - 4/22, 2016: “Sentience” by Nicole Benner

Nicole Benner

March 23 - April 22, 2016

About Nicole Benner:
Nicole Benner is a textiles artist who utilizes a diverse range of traditional and nontraditional textile processes and materials. Her research focuses on the emotional, psychological, and physical distress that is generated as a result of a diverse range of chronic pain, as it relates to spinal health. Nicole received a BFA with an emphasis in sculpture from the University of Central Missouri. She is currently a 3rd year MFA candidate focused in textile arts at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Artist’s Statement:
My current work examines the numerous layers of the body affected by chronic pain, as it relates to spinal health. This includes the physical, psychological, and emotional impact that chronic pain has on different individuals. I engage with the complexities of the human anatomy through objects that exist, or could exist, on the figure. Each piece allows for the consideration of how the object affects the wearer and how the wearer affects the object. My responsiveness to the spine as a subject initiates through my own chronic back pain and the knowledge that spinal issues are very common. Most people with back pain are constantly aware of the role the backbone plays in supporting their body and facilitating movement. Comfort/Confine is a full body casing that considers the broad, restrictive isolation placed on the body when an individual deals with chronic pain. I utilize the copper yarn as a reference to the nervous system: an aspect of my own chronic pain that can be debilitating. Here, the body has defined mobility, only capable of reaching where the textile allows.

The materials chosen to create these objects are thoughtfully considered to reflect these ideas. I explore how a material references different layers of the body, what properties the material has, how it can be manipulated, and what impact it will have on the body as it is transformed into a garment construction. The techniques and materials I choose are familiar to us through our understanding of apparel and the function of specific textiles. I utilize that familiarity to engage with the viewer and encourage them to question what those garments could mean and what it would be like if they were the individual wearing the piece.