Photo by Matt Stensland
An opening reception for Ashley Benton's "The Space Between" show is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at K. Saari Gallery.
If you go
What: Opening reception for "The Space Between," mixed media work by Ashley Benton
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday
Where: K. Saari Gallery
Steamboat Springs In "The Space Between," mixed media artist Ashley Benton wants to widen the gap between what's real and what's imagined.
A series of works that started as photos of Benton's family and friends, became computer-altered images and ended up paintings in watercolor and collaged materials, "The Space Between" opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at K. Saari Gallery.
The work has clear photographic elements and is adapted to fit a specific feeling or memory. It can be playful and whimsical, but it also asks the viewer how they would react to the same situation, Benton said.
"That's the imaginary part of it for me, is to be asked to go wherever your mind takes you and being comfortable there," she said.
Although all the work in "The Space Between" is created through Benton's emotions, she hopes viewers can find their own experiences in the paintings, bring up feelings they might have forgotten and use their imaginations.
"The imaginary is that place where you're free to just kind of be whatever you want to be, whoever you want to be," Benton said.
There are images of Benton's son, her boyfriend and herself. There's an adaptation of an aunt's old debutante portrait, and portrayals of dancers from Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, where Benton has worked since 1997 and leads the equestrian program. Photos are distorted and painted to include up-to-interpretation elements such as white space, images of butterflies and varying color schemes.
"I'm more drawn to the imaginary side of it, and the reality is just like a jumping-off point for me," Benton said. "It's just a place for me to get inspiration, really."
A full-time Steamboat Springs resident for three years, Benton now spends most of the year in Paonia. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1990 and taught art at Perry-Mansfield before switching to the equestrian program.
Benton's work will be featured at K. Saari Gallery through June 29.
- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org