Nina Bentley – Where the worlds of art and writing collide

HKD Nina
Helen Klisser During (left, curator WAC) with Nina Bentley

Nina Bentley is the kind of unusual artist I love. For one thing, her assemblage art is easy to understand, and for another, it makes me want to buy it and take it home. Not just because it’s beautiful but because I also love the wit she shows in all her pieces. The Westport Arts Center is currently exhibiting her work in a two-artist exhibition called Soles Scents. Nina’s contribution is the sole of the show, so to speak. These 23 creations are based on real shoes that she has decorated with objets trouvés to tell a tale.
“My shoes are humorous (ShuShi), dark (Freudian Slipper), political (Platform Shoe), feminist (Feathering One’s Nest) and, at times, just pretty (Primavera), but each tells a story, one meaningful to me, and, hopefully, to the viewers,” she says. You can see the exhibition through September 7. (The Scents piece of the show includes paintings of perfume bottles by Robert Cottingham.)
These shoes are wonderful, and many collectors and art museums agree with me on this, of course. But what really grabbed my attention was a notice telling me that she is currently (until July 26) exhibiting some of her works based on typewriters at the Worrell Smith Gallery in Westport. Here’s one of her pieces, He Looked Good on Paper:
He Looked Good on Paper (enlarged section)
He Looked Good on Paper (enlarged section)

Behind the large type, you can see the qualifications of the candidate (for marriage? a job?). They include: Choate, Andover, Dartmouth, Harvard, New York Athletic Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, Princeton, Eaton, Marshall Scholar, etc. You get the picture.
And the others are just as interesting. Funny, but also making a serious point. If you can get there, do. If you can’t, check out some the links above to see Nina’s art, or click here
If you’re a writer, you’ll get it.

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