All Articles
All Articles

Nina Bentley's Assemblage Sculptures

Found object and 3D art at the debut of Westport's Worrell Smith Gallery

by David Graver
on 16 June 2014

For its grand opening at the end of May 2014, Westport, Connecticut's newest art hub, the Worrell Smith Gallery housed an exhibition of local creatives, appropriately named "Home." It was there that we discovered the marvelous world of Nina Bentley. The artist contributed eight pieces to the group show, and each "diorama," which she refers to as "three dimensional assemblage sculptures," carried as much charm as it did social import.

NinaBentley-02.jpg NinaBentley-03.jpg

Bentley is no emerging artist. In fact, the 75-year-old has been an active part of the Westport scene for many years. "I lived in Europe for about 15 years and then I lived in Larchmont for 15 years, then we moved to Westport," Bentley shares with CH. There, she's graced the boards of many arts organizations, all the while pursuing her personal craft. As to why she enjoys exhibiting in the area, she explains, "It's easy to exhibit locally and it's a lot of fun because you get a lot of feedback. You think, 'Don't you really want to be in New York?' Not so much. I want to be near my friends and this gallery is just so delicious."

NinaBentley-04.jpg NinaBentley-05.jpg

"I've really done everything," she continues—addressing her painting, sculpture and collage work. Bentley's drawn much attention for her ornate, sculptural shoes, but began exploring typewriters as a source of inspiration, and other assemblages. "I got more and more involved in found objects as time went on. I'm a big collector. Sometimes, I will get an idea and then I'll find the materials to make that idea work visually. Other times I will bump into something, like a whole mass of cake choppers—I once got a carton of old knives—or multiples of an interesting materiel. That sometimes is what starts the project." From there, Bentley's work finds definition in her own self-exploration: "Part of me is crazy wild, part of me is very controlled."

I want viewers to look and say, "Ah, I know what she means, I feel that way too."

A history major and one-time copywriter, Bentley uses her art as an expressive way of avoiding psychotherapy. "My family, my weight, my age; all of these issues grip me. That's what my art is about. I'm really interested in conveying feelings, emotions and thoughts. I'm not so much interested in color. I like orderliness. I like orderliness of thought and I like order in design." Her sculptures reflect this, balancing highly emotive subjects within taut structural arrangements. And, unlike many other artists, although she seeks a reaction, Bentley wants audiences to connect rather than be shocked. "I want viewers to look and say, 'Ah, I know what she means, I feel that way too,'" she explains.


"They actually are my absolute newest work," Bentley notes of her contributions to Worrell Smith. "My daughter recently went through a divorce. This is my working through that incident—the whole family event through art. I wanted the work to hold together because it was in a small space. I found myself addressing marriage, dating, divorce." There's a clever humor to each piece, with layer upon layer of thought and meaning coalescing into very smart, entirely enjoyable, art. Bentley's personality infuses each piece.

Nina Bentley's work will be on view through 26 July 2014 at Worrell Smith Gallery in Westport, Connecticut.

Images courtesy of Worrell Smith Gallery

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms
Loading More...