SAMMY BENNETT
Doors of Perception (2021)
Doors of Perception (2021)

Acrylic, oil, toner, dye sublimation on canvas 28 x ½ x 36 in.

Patterns of Consumption (2016)
Patterns of Consumption (2016)

Acrylic, screen-print on vinyl blinds 84 x 3 x 48 in.

Patterns of Consumption (2016)
Patterns of Consumption (2016)

Acrylic, screen-print on vinyl blinds 84 x 3 x 48 in.

Doors of Perception (2021)
Doors of Perception (2021)

Acrylic, oil, toner, dye sublimation on canvas 28 x ½ x 36 in.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

The title, Doors of Perception is taken from Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book in which he elaborates on his psychedelic experiences of taking Mescaline. In his book he states, “Meaning and existence, pattern and color become more significant than spatial relationships and time. Duration is replaced by a perceptual present.” He notes that still life paintings devoid of figures are the nearest to representing a “not-self” state and how the drug breaks down barriers of the ego. 

 

This broken ego is echoed in the fragmented portrait being reflected back at the viewer in the monitor screen. Shadows placed incorrectly under a beer can and zip drive give the appearance that they’re floating, while other object’s shadows are completely absent. Disregarding perspective rules flattens objects where there should be dimensions. Together all of these fractures cumulate to mimic the hallucinogenic effects these chemicals have on our bodies. 

 

The foreground plane where all this takes place is a vintage 1960s folding table that quizzes contestants on their presidential history and geography. This provides context and political commentary on our current presidential affairs and with an air of apathy questions, is this all just  a big game?? 


Doors of Perception displays the many vices that a person can digest to alter their state of mind and all the addictions I have used throughout 2020 to try and escape the global pandemic and political drama of the U.S. To quote Frank Ocean, “Rollin’ marijuana, thats a cheap vacation.”

Patterns of Consumption transports domestic architectural elements of the home into the gallery space examining the overlap of public and private spheres. Using vertical blinds gives the viewer permission to touch the artwork and change the orientation by twisting the rod. The twisting rotates the blinds and shifts the perspective either revealing or fragmenting parts of the image. Depending on your point of view, multiple interpretations of the same image can be seen at any given time. 

 

One side of the blinds is a visual dump of imagery with random fragments of doodles, interiors, mannequins, pornography, floral patterning and other components all jumbled together. It’s composed of screen-printed representational images that continually overlap until abstraction emerges. A visual fantasy of what the trash bin on my MacBook looks like. 

 

The other side is a voyeuristic peek behind what blinds normally conceal. The setting is a bathroom with two figures engaging in “Urophili” or a golden shower as most call it. Piss play is an extremely erotic experience for people, namely within the BDSM community where there is a power exchange between a dominant and submissive. Flowers encircle the BDSM fantasy in aesthetic pleasure rejoicing in sexual experimentation and promoting body positivity.

 

Flipping between these two sides, abstraction and representation work with and against one another embracing the fluidity of images. In this way, my work creates an embodied experience and asks from the viewer a sense of exploration and engagement with the work. 

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Oscillating between representation and abstraction Sammy Bennett’s unique blend of painting and printing techniques produces dense multilayered imagery that questions, what is crawling behind the psyche of the American home? Interested in the overlap between public and private spaces, the home becomes the backdrop for body politics to play out. Pattern is used to embellish walls and fill in space while underneath bodies are being stripped down to expose the gendered spaces of the home. The underlying architecture is supported by imagery sourced from high and low visual culture most specifically pornography, art history and Bennett’s own sexual experiences. The interiors void of human presence give the viewer space to enter in and explore sorting out their own meaning in the process.