Immersive Expressionism

A Review of Artists Jason Craighead & Arden Bendler-Browning by Keisha Lambert

Tinney Contemporary is excited to share with you the works of Jason Craighead and Arden Bendler-Browning in the simultaneous shows ‘Invisible Audience’ and ‘Places to Be.’ Each of these painters hone expressive mark-making and have an energy that draws the viewer in. Their marks exude liveliness and emotions that cannot be contained by words alone. Inspiration ranges from their past reflections, internal experiences, and the technological world. Craighead’s body of work seems to envelope not only himself but also how he exists in the space around him. Whereas Bendier-Browning’s work is an interpretation of how she exists through the space and time and the memories that arise as a result.

Detail of ‘Personal Perception’, Craighead 2019

‘Invisible Audience’ is the first body of work Craighead has produced since relocating to his Brooklyn-based studio. With this relocation from his long-time studio in North Carolina, Craighead began to question who it is that he creates for? The simple answer is himself. The more labyrinthine answer is the “Invisible Audience” that is humanity as a whole, present and future. 

Detail of ‘Beyond Time’, Craighead 2019

Once in front of Craighead’s work, the viewer is rewarded with a cacophony of naturally ambiguous mark-making laced within each piece. These marks are an account of Craighead allowing himself patience to let the work first speak to him and fuel his process. It is apparent in the intentionality behind his brushstrokes and the limitedness of his color palette. It is the act of listening, absorbing, and responding. These layered marks are full of energy and friction, fueled by emotion. 

Detail of ‘Within’, Craighead 2019

Detail of ‘Within’, Craighead 2019


Craighead’s exclusively limited choice of words such as ‘apparition,’ ‘perception,’ and ‘mirror’ heighten the notions of self-discovery within his work. Woven within his pieces on canvas and paper are drips and splashes of clear medium that add more to the dimension and intention in his work. These marks carry through them the actions alone of the artist and add a ghostly appeal. The path of discovery is also apparent in the parcels of poetry and words from books he chooses to imbed inside his work. These pages are broken and torn to hint that the path is never-ending. The process is eternal and cyclical, living beyond our time.

‘Turned Inside Out’, Bendler-Browning, 2019

Arden Bendler-Browning’s paintings of the series ‘Places to Be’ are a kaleidoscopic lens of modern life. Memories and landscapes are explored within her process by the use of Virtual Reality Painting. This is a cutting-edge capability inciting a broader range of exploration for artist Bendler-Browning. This technology allows the artist, along with the space around them, to be enveloped by the marks of their hands. Techniques of splashing and pouring seem to allow colors to float across the circular space of each painting. The continuity of each form, lets the viewer to be encompassed within the experience of her work.

Detail of ‘Turned Inside Out,’ Bendler-Browning, 2019

This immersive quality references how our memories of moments evolve and are an ever-changing blur of images and emotions. The paintings, themselves, seem to take place at the synapse of memory within the brain involving time and place.

Detail of ‘Black Mirror,’ Bendler-Browning, 2019

The range of qualities exhibited within her mark-making reference the growth of landscape painting. Journeying from the study of light from the Impressionists, to the boldness of the Expressionists, to a future place all her own intertwining the use of Modern Virtual Reality Painting.

The world moving before us and within us is hard to have a definite grasp on. At times, it can feel as if a sinking and sweltering swarm of emotions. A single moment or memory is fleeting even while we are experiencing it. Both ‘Invisible Audience,’ and ‘Places to Be,’ help to explore the psyche through a color or mark that showcases the interconnectedness of the human experience. How the places we have been define who we are little by little; and, how we ourselves get twisted and colored alongside of them. Be sure to experience these bodies of work for yourself available at Tinney Contemporary until April, 27, 2019.