Arden Bendler Browning Arden Bendler Browning


Before social distancing and sheltering in place at home, my work grew out of the trove of drawings I feverishly created during yearly road trips with my husband and three kids. As we traversed environments, I painted while looking through the car windshield. As a way to recapture the thrill of speed, open space, breaking out of my familiar home territory, and the excitement of covering a wide range of terrain, I spent the rest of the year reimagining huge spaces based on these drawings – both in large format paintings as well as three dimensional walkable virtual reality spatial paintings.

By creating an all surrounding space, I recreate the thrill of discovering new places, and develop abstract worlds which anyone can enter. Each step of the work is created in response to a space that is doubly rooted in the physical world and also imaginary. By walking through marks and being contained within the space of a painting, the viewer becomes an integral part of the artwork.

Current restrictions on travel have pushed my practice toward immersion in more local wild spaces.  Rather than painting while speeding through vast distances, I am painting outside in my own urban backyard, while on local hikes, and from the numerous snapshots of the infintely detailed worlds within dense foliage and light.

Led by a compulsion to record momentary gestures, the resultant energy and intense color is symptomatic of digital distortion of place, time, excessive data and my own frenetic existence as an artist/mother. Through the ubiquitous availability of information, there is a perpetual anxiety of everything existing simultaneously, and feeling as if one is constantly trying to catch up. Being unable to travel has placed a new poignancy to the idea of simulated travel and using abstract paintings as a stand in for the physical landscape that is currently out of reach.