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Meet-the-Artist Reception

May 23 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT

Art of Paula Rainey Benson on Display in the Sharp Atrium

Artwork: “Doors and Windows XII,” by Paula Rainey Benson, oil and paper on canvas, 2006, displayed in the Sharp Atrium.

An exhibit of the work of artist Paula Rainey Benson on themes regarding prayer and reflection is currently displayed in the Sharp Atrium. Paula and the Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley studied studio art together as undergraduate classmates at Columbia College in South Carolina, and, this past January, Paula helped to install the Souls Shot portrait exhibition in the Sharp Atrium. We remain grateful for her willingness to assist us earlier this year and for her skill in setting each piece in a place where it could shine. We also are grateful for the opportunity to showcase her own work now. You are invited to contemplate her visual exploration of prayer and to meet the artist at a reception on Thursday, May 23, at 6:00 p.m. Please let us know if you can join us by signing up in the Sharp Atrium or contacting the church office.

Artist Statement

Two mediums, painting and photography, seem to be in constant dialogue within my work: forms and ideas come from one to reach out and influence the other. For many years now, the rectangular form has dominated my work, suggesting the architectural form of doors and windows, quite literally in my photographs and through abstraction in my paintings; as well as symbolizing the figurative form of the Divine Presence experienced through prayer.

This body of work has slowly evolved over the past twenty years, from a photograph of votive candles taken in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, in 2003, to large-scale oil paintings and architectural black-and-white photographs from my graduate school work, to small pen-and-ink and watercolor collages from the past few years. The common thread that connects all of this work is about creating spaces to communicate with the Divine.

My fascination with the natural world is evident primarily through my selective use of color; the way in which I layer color is both additive and subtractive, echoing the natural processes of growth and decay through time. The natural world is where I most often encounter the solitude and quiet, as well as the power and sublimity, often associated with the spiritual. Because of this, my work is an echo of the sacred connection that exists between the physical and spiritual world.

Paula Rainey Benson


May 23
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT


Shadyside Presbyterian Church
5121 Westminster Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15232 United States
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(412) 682-4300
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