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Seven Things About Venus The Painting You Have To Experience It Yourself | venus the painting

A few years ago, Ana Benaroya accustomed what she considers the ultimate compliment. “Saw this adolescent artist’s assignment recently,” the acclaimed painter Katherine Bradford wrote in an Instagram column about one of Benaroya’s paintings. “Now accept to absolutely amend nipples.” It was, Benaroya recalls back I stop by her flat in Jersey City, “the ideal validation.”

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Technically, Benaroya’s paintings are changeable nudes. Unlike their actual counterparts, her abstracts are about impossibly muscular, and bright in both the accurate and allegorical sense. They activity so abundant aplomb that they’ll either accord you a animation in your footfall or accomplish you blush. And on April 8, they’ll be on abounding affectation in “Swept Away,” the countdown exhibition of Venus Over Manhattan’s new city outpost, which will focus on adolescent artists. (The Upper East Ancillary mainstay is adulatory its 10th ceremony by accretion to 55 Great Jones Street, appropriate abutting aperture to the stables that Andy Warhol adapted into the home and flat of Jean-Michel Basquiat.)

“In abounding ways, I feel like my art is generally the adverse of how I am as a person,” Benaroya, 36, says. “I’m appealing quiet, not in-your-face. I can be actual shy. And these characters I paint, there’s annihilation abashed about them. Their bodies abide absolutely as they appetite them to. Their limbs accept no limits; they accept no shame.” This abridgement of what ability be alleged amenity has led to comparisons to Peter Saul, who has been acclaimed for his colorful, cartoonish depravity; in fact, Benaroya’s works were commutual with Saul’s in an exhibition at Ross Kramer Gallery’s Hamptons amplitude in 2019.


Born in Queens and aloft in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Benaroya becoming a BFA in analogy at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After that, she spent about a decade accomplishing clear architecture for audience like ABC and the New Yorker. On the ancillary she fabricated drawings, which eventually led to baby gouache paintings on beaming paper. “They were actual clear and agnate to my illustrations, and I acquainted like this is absolutely exciting,” she recalls. Except at the time, the abstracts weren’t of women. “I’ve never been admiring to men, so it was added aberrant that I was accomplishing that,” she says. “I anticipate by not depicting women, ever, I never had to catechism or accost my allure to them. I could aloof characterize these blowing dudes.”

Growing up, Benaroya admired comics and cartoons like The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which acquaint her assignment alike now. The added her abstracts took on the pumped-up physiques of superheroes, the added aplomb the artisan gained. She consistently acquainted there weren’t abundant depictions of women for adolescent girls who didn’t analyze with acceptable femininity, so she set about acclimation that. She activated to Yale in 2017, and while earning her MFA in painting, accomplished there was a way she could affix the animation characters of her adolescence with her own developed experiences. The abstracts in her paintings are bare because she doesn’t appetite to abode them in a accurate time period, admitting alone in part. “I appetite depictions of changeable nudes that accept admiration and passion, but because the women are the sex objects—because they see that in anniversary other,” she says. “I feel like not abounding examples of that exist, from the angle of addition like me.”

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There are buckets and buckets of gesso in Benaroya’s studio. To alpha a painting, she applies seven layers’ account to a canvas and bank it bottomward until it’s aloof bland enough, again paints an abstruse accomplishments with aerosol and oil paint. Completing a painting like the all-embracing ones anon on appearance at Venus Over Manhattan takes up to two weeks. Thanks to her accomplishments in illustration, the assets that accomplish up the added bisected of the appearance booty about bisected the time. By bond oil-based US ink besom pens with solid-based markers, Benaroya can calmly accumulate the atramentous curve that characterize them clean. “As an illustrator, I was cool quick,” she says. “Lots of deadlines and projects at once.”

The added we talk, the added I admiration what Benaroya thinks about a byword frequently associated with her work: “the changeable gaze.” She’s ambivalent, but it prompts her to accede a added nuanced question. “What does lesbian admiration attending like?,” she asks. “That is a accurate gaze. I'm not abiding how to ascertain it—it’s actual indefinable, and generally invisible. And that’s article that maybe can be amid in the changeable gaze. Maybe not, or maybe aloof a baby allotment of it.” Benaroya guesses that men accomplish up best of her beneficiary base, but conceivably alone by advantage of the actuality that so abounding art collectors are male. Men accomplish up a allocation of those who consistently bulletin her about her assignment on Instagram, but she thinks her paintings and assets bell best with “women, anomalous people, all sorts.”

Ana Benaroya, By the Ocean's Roar, 2022. Brand and USA ink on archival Bristol board.

As I’m about to arch out, I ask Benaroya about some of her ancient artworks. Her parents adored them all; in fact, she has on duke a binder of assets fabricated back she was in elementary and average school. After rifling through some boxes, she allotment with a accumulation of loose-leaf affidavit and starts affairs them out at random. “I capital to be a car designer,” she says, laughing, as we appear beyond a black pencil cartoon of a vehicle, acutely active “By Ana Benaroya” in cursive.

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There are apparent superheroes—her admired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, rendered in marker, and a printout of Spider-Man timestamped 1999—as able-bodied as others of Benaroya’s own invention. As we adore the billowing anatomy of one of my claimed favorites, a masked man with absorbing abs called King Hair, Benaroya laughs, again says, “Really, I haven’t afflicted that much.”

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