Jamie Bennati

Jaime Bennati creates sculptures and installations that build on her interest in the phenomenon of things found in nature. She works in large scale through accumulating and reusing wasted materials. Each material she uses goes through a labor-intensive process that involves lots of investigating and experimentation. Her most recent work involves researching the history of an abandoned building in Greektown, Baltimore. This eastside neighborhood has become apart of her investigation to understand the industrial history in steel production as a livelihood and way of life effecting the formation of communities in the city. She hopes that her work will allow others to understand the importance of preserving history and the impact we have on our landscape and environment. In May 2008, she graduated from The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with her B.F.A. in Sculpture and a concentration in Graphic Design. She is currently working on new research for her next body of work after living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this past fall for two months. In July, she will travel back to Brazil in order to gather additional research and information for her new work. She has exhibited around Baltimore along with Columbus, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York. She was born and raised in Westerville, Ohio near Columbus.

Artist Statement

In my work I practice seeing as a way of rediscovering my environment. Connecting others and myself to experiences in nature is the basis of my work. These connections begin as research and my personal questioning concerning our consumption as a society. Parallel to my research is the investigation of my material. The materials I work with are transformed by carefully understanding their properties. Creating the unexpected out of a material is one way I challenge not only myself but also the eyes of the viewer. A large part of the work that I create is based on processes. I start with one base unit that accumulates into a larger form. The process is constantly changing and developing. My pieces tend to be extremely tedious and repetitive. I am drawn to the concept of assembly lines and the ways in which factories operate by producing masses of a product through planned processes. In many ways my process references both the life cycle of natural and man made objects. Through my work I try to transform my materials in a way that makes the viewer question the way we impact our environment. My most recent work involves researching and analyzing the industrial history of Baltimore. I have been investigating the space within an abandoned building in the city and its history. This has become a series of works, entitled 4500 Fait Ave. A discovery of a huge source of newsprint in the building has resulted in my desire to address the issues of recycling, waste and the history of the material. Through my interaction with this newsprint I have become deeply involved in understanding the history of this empty space that is now only occupied by wasted materials. I began researching where each material could have possibly come from by studying the use of space since it’s initial existence. The building was created in the 1940s and used for various functions such as a railroad station, trucking facility, and international storage business. My involvement with this building has strengthened my knowledge of the community the building resides in which is known as Greektown. It broaden my understanding of the industrial history in Baltimore specifically that of steel production as a livelihood and way of life effecting the formation of communities in the city. After discovering that the building was in the process of being demolished and redeveloped I felt it was my responsibility to utilize the materials left in the abandoned space. I gathered and transported some of these discarded materials for use in installations and relief sculptures. In addition I created a website called 4500 Fait Ave (http://4500faitave.blogspot.com) that documents the research I have gathered through this investigation. My hope in creating this website is to allow members of the community to further discuss the redevelopment of the area that is underway and the destruction of historical buildings in the city.