Art Exhibit of Large Oil Paintings by Athesia Benjamin on Display in the Lobby Gallery of Genesee Community College

Genesee Center for the Arts is delighted to have the recent work of Athesia Benjamin, a Rochester native, on display in the Lobby Gallery of Genesee Community College from March 3 through March 31, 2006. Working primarily in oil within large format portraiture reveals the burgeoning talent of the young artist. Most of the her work in this exhibit is from her graduate thesis project at Rochester Institute of Technology, revealing Benjamin's acute interest and her very impressive talent in painting people in large format.

Ms. Benjamin visited Genesee Community College this past Thursday and spoke at length to the College's visual arts students. She explained her own personal journey of developing her innate observation skills as a child, and how she connected this ability while refining her hand - eye coordination. She has explored different media such as acrylics, black and white photography, computerized graphic design, art education, as well as oil painting and self-portraiture.

This journey has taken Benjamin from her high school experience in the School of the Arts in Rochester, to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan for her first two years of college, to Rochester Institute of Technology-where she earned her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in 2001 and is finishing up her Master's in Fine Arts degree.

With the Master's thesis assignment of creating "ground breaking work," Benjamin took this charge seriously and spent the first year of her studies experimenting. In year two, she determined she wanted to paint people incorporating her keen observation skills and her interest in the human element. She also wanted to work in large format, and involve no models. From there she proposed the concept of developing disguised self-portraits capturing the essence of herself within unusual and symbolic settings that were influenced by personal experiences and evoked a wide range of different emotions.

"You have to think about the importance of symbols to communicate your messages better," Benjamin told the class pointing to the shirt, medical mask and gloves on one of her self-portraits. "I also have learned the power of something just being weird or humorous, and how this impacts the message," she added.

Currently, Benjamin works in the Visual and Performing Arts Department of Monroe Community College. She previously taught at Roberts Wesleyan College, the Geneseo Migrant Center, the Community Darkroom and the James Madison School of Excellence. Benjamin has shown her work in numerous Rochester exhibitions and has been commissioned by a local attorney to paint a large scale portrait of Harriet Tubman for their law offices. A photograph of Ms. Benjamin speaking to students at Genesee Community College about her work is available by clicking on the following Internet address:

The Lobby Gallery is located in the Stuart Steiner Theatre on the Batavia Campus of Genesee Community College, One College Road. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. It is closed on Saturdays and Sundays and during college vacations. For more information, call the Arts Center office at 345-6802. ------------------------------------------------------------------

Call to Artistic Exhibitors: Genesee Community College is currently seeking proposals from visual artists interested in displaying their artwork in the College's Lobby Gallery through the 2006 - 2007 academic year. Artists can submit proposals independently or as a group by sending in a one-page proposal, and samples of creative work in the form of photographic slides, color prints, or electronic jpeg images (in 72 dpi) to: Alan Gordon, Exhibition Chair, Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020. Submission materials will not be returned and the deadline is April 28, 2006.