Stephen Benedicto is a visual artist based out of Washington, DC. His abstract sculptural paintings embody themes such as transhumanism, sexual fetishism, and the design of the self. In his formal education, Benedicto crafted a bespoke Integrative Studies degree in Applied Aesthetics at George Mason University. His philosophical and artistic perspective takes form in his unique, dynamic, multidisciplinary, and polymathic approach to the arts.
His works have been featured in Miami, Florida during Art Basel as well as various galleries in DC, including Hemphill. He maintains a studio at STABLE, located in the neighborhood of Eckington in Washington, DC.
My work explores fetishism and its seemingly all-encompassing “etymological delirium,” coined by Rosaline C. Morris in 'The Returns of Fetishism', through a visceral medium and minimalist visual vocabulary. Carved concentric lines on unyielding mediums of plaster and concrete create large forms that interact with each other as precisely as the lines of which they are comprised, creating a succinct and austere geometric language. The work suggests the “material force of magical thought” that is the underpinning of fetishism as it is regarded across economics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and religious studies. It is sensuous, rich, and specific.
Early in its history, a “fetish” referred to human-made religious objects revered for their magical powers. It was only in the past century that the term became secularized, with the concepts of Binet’s “sexual fetish” and Marx’s “commodity fetishism.” The spiritual concept of fetish as an object is discordant with its modern sexual context, but in all instances, its meaning is bridged by desire, worship, and influence. The word fetish is imbued with mysticism and sensuality; my practice is an exploration of its history while seeking to define its contemporary nuance in the age of hypermodernity.
With each sculptural painting, I carve concentric lines, one by one, with a wood carving tool and large compass. It is a repetitive and tedious process and one that reflects precisely the phenomenon that “fetishism” has been used to describe. Anthropologist Rosaline C. Morris put it best, “a gesture that repeats itself without reproducing… a logic that encompasses illogic.” These words inform my process of methodically building a work of art. The process of assessing what is gained and what is lost within each composition is critical research.
The medium that I use is a combination of concrete, varnish, and graphite, arranged respectively from ground to surface. Weight, although not visible, is an indispensable quality of the object and suggests the attributes of strength and permanence. Mounted vertically on a wall, the quality of weight adds suspense, tension, and potential, and it evokes awareness of relative scale in relation to the object. Graphite, a material that is also used as an industrial lubricant, elucidates the process by creating glossy, slick, undulating ridges - thus enticing a primal impulse from the viewer, daring them to physically engage the piece. Embedded in the concrete is another hidden attribute: a blockchain-supported microchip that authenticates the work and secures the original physical object. In an age of mechanical reproduction, a globally distributed digital ledger provides confidence that the works are truly what they say they are.
George Mason University
Bachelor of Arts in Principals of Aesthetics with a minor in Consciousness and Transformation, May 2014
Solo Exhibition Art 21 at Coldwell Banker, September 2019
Lilliana Gomez + Stephen Benedicto, Art Basel Miami Satellite event, Dec 2018
Solo Exhibition of “Willing Resistance” at Redeem, 2018
Solo Exhibition at the Optical Society, DC, 2017
Solo Exhibition at SOMMwhere, NYC September 6th, 2017
Solo Exhibition at Fathom Creative, DC March 30, 2017
Private Solo Exhibition at Artist’s Proof, DC March 22nd, 2017
Solo Exhibition of “120 52 2015” February 25th, 2016
Exhibition of “918” at Prequel March 2015
Solo Exhibition at Fathom Creative June 2014
Michael Thomas Clothiers in Washington DC (commercial photo campaign) 2012
Hickok Cole Art Night, October 2019
STABLE Group Exhibition, October 18th, 2019
Group Exhibition at Hemphill Gallery, DC 2018
Hickok Cole Art Night, October 2018
Group Exhibition in Dupont Underground, DC September 16th, 2017
Group Exhibition at L2 lounge Georgetown, DC 2017
Group Exhibition at Pepco Gallery DC “Emulsion” March 3rd - 16th, 2017
Mid City Artist Exhibitions and Open Studios 2016 to date
Group Exhibition at Fathom Creative December 2014
Group Exhibition at George Mason University May 2014
Group Exhibition at George Mason University School of Art 2013
Group Exhibition at George Mason University School of Art 2012