Steve DiBenedetto’s Art Embraces Incoherence

Two distinct but related artists seem to inhabit Steve DiBenedetto’s consciousness: the one who paints fibrous forms in oil and pigment and the one who draws shapes in colored pencil connected by networks of lines. Simultaneously meticulous and restless, he likes to push the paint around and discover what bodily form might emerge from its combination of malleability and resistance. Lines in different configurations join isolated forms in the drawings, bringing to mind mystical diagrams, complex circuitry, and impenetrable delivery systems.

I am going to begin here with DiBenedetto the painter. In contrast to gestural abstraction, which tends to be full of juicy, smeary brushstrokes that expand outward, the artist has found a way to compress his layered brushstrokes. Everything he does appears to be deliberate and tense, slow and keyed up. This quality merges perfectly with his gristly forms, where interior cavities and exterior skin seem to pass through each other. Conversely, the drawings — although clearly by the same artist — are constellations of circular and irregular forms connected by dense, rhythmic networks of swaying lines.

Featured image: Steve DiBenedetto, “Particle Ashram” (2022–23), oil on linen, 30 x 24 inches

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