Outsider Art Fair
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Charles Benefiel

American, contemporary.
Born 1967, Venice Beach, California.


A native of New Mexico, Benefiel currently lives in New York. He is an earnest, reflective man, who turned to drawing as a way of fixing externally the negative aspects of his life; exorcising the debilitating effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder and his feelings of vulnerability. Benefiel does not conceive of an audience for his drawings. Once completed they are kept out of view even in his own home, for having worked out of a troubled psychic episode, it is only their imperfections which slowly reveal themselves.

As a result, at least once he has destroyed a body of work, but he is content to release pieces so that others might work through their layered, hypnagogic narratives. Benefiel's technique of drawing using only dots and working without preliminary designs allows him to lose himself in the act of picture-making, whilst retaining strict control over mark-making. He tends to work from the center outwards, initially producing a composition of loose dots and incrementally covering the whole surface before aging each piece by staining it with tea and adding layers of varnish, wiped with a turpentine-soaked rag. In this way, experience and memory are made to coalesce, and the present is recast in a nebulous future-past.

- Courtesy of Henry Boxer Gallery, London


Selected Exhibitions

2006, Obsessive Drawing, American Folk Art Museum, New York

2006, Internal Guidance Systems, travelling exhibition curated by Anne Grgrich and Colin Rhodes

Selected Collections

American Folk Art Museum, New York
Collection abcd, Paris

Selected Bibliography

Stern, Julian, "Accidental Magic," Brut Force, March 4, 2015.

Cotter, Holland, "The Desire to Draw, Sometimes a Compulsion," New York Times, September 16, 2005.

Herman, Bernard L., "Charles Benefiel," Raw Vision, #30, Spring 2000.
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