Millie Benson

As she describes it, “once things settle down and get cold, I can settle down and paint.” With the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown, Benson found the time to slow down and focus on the microscopic detail of her paintings, many of which depict the cycles of the moon and the sun. For her, art has been a source of calm during this turbulent time of uncertainty —a way to connect with herself and with the natural world. 

Both of the paintings featured here - Virus Worlds and Black Holes, were made at the artist's home during the first days of the COVID-19 quarantine. Switching from a spacious studio to a smaller home studio allowed Benson the opportunity to look deeper into the details of smaller work and create microscopic spaces on the surfaces.

Millie Benson’s studio resembles a natural history collection. Piles of rocks are sorted by color. Tree bark from old-growth forests are pinned to the wall. Star wheels and constellation maps are stacked on the table. Benson likes to collect these specimens throughout the warmer months of the year, before she hibernates in her studio for the winter.

Virus Worlds (2020)

12" x 16"

Ink, acrylic gouache, and carbon on paper 

"I truly believe that I have a natural inclination to make art. Despite all of these aspects of life that I can’t control right now, my relationship with art is more certain and stable than ever. This is my world:

these paintings, working with materials, creating with other people. This is what I do." 

Black Holes (2020)

12" x 16"

Ink, acrylic gouache, and carbon on paper 

© 2020 Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

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