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Joseph Bennett’s Attachment Issues

By Eli Hans

The current exhibition at The Studio Space, “Attachment Issues,” is an exciting solo show of more than 30 original works by assemblage artist Joseph Bennett. The title of the show is inspired by the challenge facing assemblage artists worldwide—how to join several pieces of dissimilar objects together in a way that is archival, harmonious, and beautiful.

Fri, Jan 22, 5pm, Preview
Sat, Jan 23, 6pm, Artist’s Reception
Sat, Jan 30, 11am, Assemblage Workshop
The Studio Space
Camino al Caracol 11
Raffle tickets 100 pesos for 3 tickets
185 8093,

“It’s a long-standing joke,” explains Bennett. “For years I’ve wanted to get a T-shirt that says ‘assemblage artists have attachment issues.’ In our work, one can come up with the most dynamic juxtaposition of objects, but then we’re faced with how to join them together. My preferred method is using tension—fitting two or more pieces together just perfectly and nothing else is needed. If that doesn’t do it, then I use screws and nails, but they need to be congruent with the piece. I tend to use rusted metal and vintage wood, so the nails and screws need to have a similar patina, which is not always easy.”

A story lies behind each of Bennett’s assemblages, and for this exhibition each piece is accompanied by text explaining the inspiration for the piece. “Though the work, in my eye, stands alone, there are always questions from viewers and collectors about why I used a particular object in a piece, or what the symbolism might be. I don’t find that to be common in other mediums. Rarely is a painter asked why there’s red in the foreground or a photographer questioned about why an image was shot from a certain angle. But with found-object assemblage, questions come up all the time. Though challenging to explain, I think it makes me a better artist to consider what I’m trying to say, how best to communicate it, and with what materials. To me, the work is so much more than finding pretty things and gluing them inside a box,” adds Bennett.

One of the pieces in the show, “Shanty Town USA,” will be raffled off during the reception. Raffle tickets are three for $100 pesos, and the winner will be announced that evening. About the piece available for auction, Bennett explains, “We recently drove across country, and there were so many desolate and abandoned towns. Of course, if you looked, there were clues that the town was once a thriving center, with all of the typical elements like homes, stores, and gathering places for community activities. And for whatever reasons, it was all abandoned. This piece is an homage to them.”

“Attachment Issues” is open for a preview on Friday, January 22, 5-8 pm, and an artist’s reception is scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 6–9 pm. For the first time ever, a found-object assemblage workshop accompanies the exhibition a week later on Saturday, January 30, 11am-3 pm. All events take place at Camino al Caracol 11, just above the intersection of Cinco de Mayo and Prolongación Aldama. Please call 185 8093 for more info or to arrange for a private showing.


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