Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carolina Brewery Features Chatham Artists Guild Art for All Seasons

Patrons of the popular Pittsboro restaurant will enjoy the colorful and textural works of printmaker Vidabeth Bensen and mixed media artist Rita Spina from February 2 – April 6, 2013. Bensen and Spina are charter participants of the Chatham Studio Tour. There will be a free reception on Sunday, March 3rd from 4 to 6 PM. Come, meet the artists and  share some custom crafted brews and delicious snacks.

Vidabeth Bensen’s original screen prints reflect 27 years living and working overseas.  She is a retired high school art teacher and used her skills as a printmaker while working as an illustrator and graphic artist for the US Army in Germany and for USIS in Morocco. 

Winter Trees by Vidabeth Bensen
Bensen grew up in NYC. “I remember always making art,” she says. She majored in art, with a minor in education at Brooklyn College.  That intersection has been a continuous thread throughout her life. The other constant has been screen printing. In college she had a lot of acting friends, who asked her to make posters for them. Making posters by hand was too time-consuming, so she learned to do silk screening. “The first time I pulled a squeegee across a screen, I was hooked – I have been doing it ever since.”

Her prints are hand pulled in her studio in Chatham County and each one is unique.  Many of her prints could be called “screen paintings” as they are mounted on canvas and are one-of-a-kind mono-prints.  Color and composition inspired by Bensen’s interest in abstract expressionism are the subject matter of several newer prints. . “I consider myself so very fortunate – I have been doing this for over 50 years – Every print that I make is still exciting to me.”

Rita Spina is renowned for the re-visioning of discarded materials into beautiful and distinctive art. “I am a “junque” artist, she grins. Spina’s work is almost always 3-dimensional and is made of materials that have been previously used, which includes, metal scrap, old wood, paper and often organic materials themselves. “I find most of the materials in scrap yards, walks in the woods, rural roads and often on my front deck, as people who know my work pass "junque" along.”

Golden Touch by Rita Spina
Born and raised in Manhattan, Spina always expressed an interest in art, and as a child attended Saturday classes at the famous Parson’s School of Design. She planned to be an art major at Russell Sage College. However, she became an English major, as the Art program was tailored for those who wished to follow the great artists of the world -- that would come later. She married, had four children, went to Hofstra University for her graduate degree in Psychology and eventually headed up the Psychological Center. A subsequent clinical practice followed.

“Whereas in my career as a Psychologist, I put people and ideas together, as an Artist, I now put materials and ideas together,” Spins notes.  “The materials often stimulate the origins of what I do.” 

Life’s cycles, the power of nature and her changes, the tension between natural form and emerging technologies, the remnants of progress and the coexistence of variables are an endless table from which to choose for Rita Spina - nothing ever remains the same.