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Nate Massé and Maxwell Bennet
Ellsworth Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Amanda Malloy

Nate Massé, "En Memoria, A.M.S.", 2018, oil and graphite on canvas, 47 1/2 x 39"

Continuing through July 30, 2018

The glance. Not quite a gaze, but still flickeringly intimate, like a dream remembered after waking. That is the atmosphere of Nate Massé and Maxwell Bennett’s current exhibition, “Fractured Glances.” The two artists work exceedingly well together, with Bennett’s forged steel and wrought iron sculptures posing a nice contrast to Massé’s soft, dreamy paintings.

Massé’s portraits, like the result of a stolen glance, appear to capture more of the aura of his subjects rather than their actual physical characteristics. Some seem to be in the middle of rapid movement, with features blurred and out of place. Others incorporate collage-like compositions, with smaller forms and faces painted within the subject. Such dynamic and movement-focused compositions could easily be dizzying or overwhelming, but Massé’s mastery of composition, and the combination of earth tones and pastels are stunning, dream-like explorations of the human form.

In contrast, Bennett’s sculptures are more abstract, but the combination of recognizably human features with amorphous shapes makes them an appropriate three-dimensional counterpart to Massé’s paintings. Bennett’s use of various metals combined with softer elements like tissue paper and resin. It’s a striking dichotomy of both hard and soft elements. Amorphous forms of amber resin extend from surrealistic human arms. Like Massé, Bennett’s work explores the differences between what the eye captures and what the brain interprets.

Ellsworth Gallery

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