Misty Bennett is a painter living in Birmingham, Alabama. Her abstract paintings are based on landscapes and waterfalls with an emphasis on texture, movement and mark-making. Her work is about memory and experience, and the way that the two affect each other. She was born and raised in Idaho, and the landscape of the West continues to influence her work today. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (B.F.A. 1996) and the University of Georgia (M.F.A. 2002) in Drawing and Painting, she has taught painting at the University of Montevallo in Alabama since 2003. Her paintings have been widely exhibited in galleries and museums across the Southeast and are part of the permanent collection of the University of Georgia, the College of Osteopathic Medicine (Dothan, AL) and Carmichael Library at the University of Montevallo.
For many years I have been making paintings about nature and destruction, both actual and metaphorical. These works are perhaps the most direct representation and also the most personal. They are metaphors for states of being and the complexity of human experience that encompasses both wonder and pain, often simultaneously. The waterfall serves as a metaphor in my paintings. It exists in a state of constant movement and change, but follows a path dictated by the force of gravity. It changes depending on the volume of water, from dangerously fast to a slow trickle, but spends most of its time somewhere in between the two states. Over time, the force of the water will erode the surface beneath it; even something as solid as stone can be permanently marked by water running across it.
The core of this body of work is memory and experience, and the fluid nature of both is reflected in the mark-making I use. The marks are meditative to paint, and they create a record of my hand’s movement and the time I spent making them. They are both anxious and soothing. They attempt to cover up parts of the landscape, much in the same way that people attempt to cover up certain parts of themselves with a blanket of humor or goodwill. To this end, I often use colors in my underpainting that are allowed to peek through in the finished work, hinting that there is more happening beneath the surface than immediately meets the eye.