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Art & Life with Nevena Bentz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nevena Bentz.

Nevena, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
After obtaining a French law degree in 1998 and an American J.D in 2002, I practiced law for several years. While the study of law was greatly challenging and satisfying, practicing law proved very different. I found myself physically and intellectually stifled. Becoming the mother of two children during this time added new imperatives. My priorities shifted and, as they crystallized, my old identity as a lawyer crumbled; it could not represent my true identity and did not nourish my soul. I began to make art to fill the void and heal the grief of what felt like a loss of self, as our ego would define it – in terms of family situation, career etc. I never planned to be an artist, but painting soon became a necessity, a way to release the fear of transformation into something new and unpredictable. The process of becoming is intense, uncomfortable, unsettling, and yet nothing makes us feel more alive or present. I am a seeker, so I tend to think of myself as someone who is becoming an artist rather than one who is. This mindset fosters an elusive identity where freedom reigns.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Art has provided me with a connection to something magnificent. The search for that something leads to a certain kind of exhaustion that brings with it relaxation and the peace of joyful surrender. My work shows a quest to reinforce the contrast between the real and the imaginary by juxtaposing elements of each, so as to reconfigure experience in unexpected ways and blur the line of what is real. Frequently, my ideas materialize in the process of tearing up the whole, creating chaos, and exploring the resulting space. Through art, I navigate my internal struggles; joy and melancholy often intertwine in my work just as in my daily life. This idea underlies the imperfection, asymmetry, and unpredictability which characterize much of my art.

Given everything that is going on in the word today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national and international events and issues affect your art?
Unlike many professionals, artists, have the privilege of cultivating their own audience. The larger the audience, the greater the artist’s opportunity to effect positive change in the viewer or society at large. Beauty is meaningful. Making art that is simply beautiful is enough to leave a positive imprint in a world that is crippled by war, natural catastrophes and violence. That being said, making something that is merely beautiful has never satisfied my need for self-expression. I am very sensitive to all that happens on a national and international level. A bit less so on a local level. Angst, joy, anger, confusion and hope are always present, to various degrees, when I approach the canvas. The dichotomy of hope and despair materializes in a fragmented face, or one where darkness and light, chaos and harmony struggle to coexist in something imperfect, yet beautiful.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I post daily on Instagram: @nevenabentzart. An image gallery of my work can be seen on my website at www.nevenabentz.com/art. If someone is interested in an existing original or print, they can contact me at nevena@nevenabentz.com. I have a very extensive body of work, so what is publicly available is only a small portion of my portfolio. I like to chat with clients before I select a few of my pieces that best match their needs, budget and aesthetic preferences. I have also developed a number of curatorial proposals for galleries and museums.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The image of me (red dress) – Photo credit: Margarita Ahtchieva

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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