Featured Artist: Arden Bendler Browning

by Peter Sigrist

As part of our "featured artists" series, we're gradually building a collection of work that might be interesting to see in cities. In the case of Arden Bendler Browning, I also enjoy seeing cities through her work. She shatters urban settings into hurricane frames, exposing false divisions between humans and nature. As she explains in a few passages from her artist's statement...

"The urban environment is a sea of fluctuating boundaries arguing claim to the demarcation of space as 'wild,' 'inhabited,' 'private,' 'public,' 'forbidden,' and 'open.' I make sprawling wall-sized and room-sized paintings on Tyvek as a direct response to this environment. My imagery is derived from actual and virtual meandering throughout fringe neighborhoods within Philadelphia."

"When I am walking with my young twin daughters, my attention is directed at the minutiae that they find so wondrous (often a bit of trash), while also darting ahead half a block to check on the faster, more energetic child, and periodically looking behind for the more attentive, slower paced child. I have chosen to live in a city precisely because it means that I access (and bypass) a rich variety of neighborhoods and environments each day, via the different levels of attention of my role as driver, passenger in car or on train, or pedestrian. I am acutely aware of the fact that by pursuing one path to get from one point to another, I am traversing a forest with multiple perspectives and paths."

"Cities have attracted me for their density, activity, variety, their layered contradictions…there is never enough to give me a definite understanding of my immediate environment."

I find it interesting that Browning emphasizes cities when describing her work. I love the part about experiencing places in new ways through the wonder and excitement of kids. This reminds me of an unexpected meeting a few days ago with two high-school classmates. I was trying to identify plants in a small courtyard, when two ecstatic kids with big eyes and curly hair came sprinting through the trees. For some reason they looked vaguely familiar. A few seconds later I found my classmates along the path, just within view of their children.

In mentioning Arden Bendler Browning, besides adding a talented artist to the archive, I hope to become similarly aware of my environment, relating with it thoughtfully and playfully.

Credits: Image from ardenbendlerbrowning.com.


  1. Thank you for the feature! Love the blog.

  2. Wow, thank you for checking this out! Your work is amazing. I'll look forward to following it on your site and seeing it in person some day.


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