Arden Bendler Browning Arden Bendler Browning


I am an explorer, marking my way with paint.
Walking, to get lost.
How can I travel somewhere new through memory?

Inside my urban studio, I hear trucks, shouting, a jackhammer
Through the stacks of paintings, the dramatic sunlight peeks in but doesn’t last long.
I paint while studying layers of light, shadow, density, gesture, and infinite detail
from my oversaturated snapshots of yesterday’s hike
on the flat screen of my phone or my laptop.
I gather and emulate fragments from many close together moments and perspectives
The parts are what I remember.
How can I hold on to the fleeting moments without freezing them? What do they become?

I layer marks over marks over marks. There is no horizon.
The colors are more alive than we notice. Time moves more slowly when I am painting fast.
The world is overloaded and so am I
but it makes sense when looking carefully.
I need to look at something while painting.

While my husband drives, I paint on sheet after sheet after sheet of papers
on my lap while looking through the windshield.
The land morphs and blurs and beckons.
My children are in their own worlds behind me.

Not wanting the journeys to end, I invent new ones.
I put on a virtual reality headset, and make my lap size drawings into distant and near walls.
I roam within the vast space of my small travel drawings, and use virtual reality tools to paint in three-dimensions.
What was once the focus is now the backdrop, the floor, the unreachable island.
You can put on the virtual reality headset too
and take steps into these paintings.
Moving through these immersive marks, you become part of an unseen world.

I record video while walking through my real but not real marks.
I paint while watching the video. The screen meanders through almost real shapes and brushstrokes : all aspects, all directions, all scales.
There are always too many things demanding attention, too much to try to know.
Everything is happening at the same time, and I’m trying to keep up.

I am not as free as I crave.
I am a mother.

Where is the path?
Painting opens an unexpected window.
The longer I look, to keep learning to see - to create something of this world that is also not at all of this world.
I am colored by my moods.

I am an explorer, always wanting to know more.
Possibility bubbles up. How can we go in?

Watery - but grounded with color, I highlight the ordinary and rebirth it as extraordinary
Poured, brushed, wiped, drawn, erased, stained, dripped.
It is never one thing - always multiples, always plural.

I am nomadic and I am rooted.
I am always looking back. I am obsessed with the future yet I cannot see it.
The longer I look, the more I am noticing the ways the colors talk to each other -
becoming vague and then specific and then vague again - like a still image that is moving.

I keep doing the same practice, the same ritual, the same play, the same problem - over and over and over.
There is no future frame of reference.
Like each day, I start over and try again.