Benedicte Caneill is an award-winning artist who creates original dyed and printed fabrics that she uses to make one of a kind fine art pieces. Born in Paris and raised in Toulouse, France – she came to New York in 1981 and after a career in biology became a full-time studio artist. She has always been involved with art in many different forms: painting, music and the performing arts of acting and singing, including learning the traditional danced theater of Kathakali in Kerala, India. She always felt a passion for beauty and a need to create with her hands.
Using her dyed, painted and printed fabrics she is creating a large body of work exploring line, color and movement. Whether small or large-scale, it falls in two seemingly opposite categories: one figurative, the other one abstract. Both express her multiple interests and experiences: her international travels, her life in France, interactions with different cultures, and her career as a biology teacher in international schools.
Her work has appeared in exhibits nationally, including in NYC galleries (Terrain Gallery, Phoenix Gallery) and internationally, and has been juried into Quilt National, Quilt Visions, Art Quilt Elements and Craftforms. She has won numerous awards, including First Places, Judge’s Choice and SAQA Cream Award. She lives and maintains a studio in the New York area.
I like working with textiles because of their tactile quality and the texture that can be obtained through various manipulations. I start with plain white or black fabric and using surface design techniques (dyeing, painting, monoprinting, silk-screening or direct printing) build up layers and create patterns. My visual vocabulary consists of a variety of abstract visual images (dots, lines, circles) and layered painted surfaces. I cut up and reassemble the pieces, sometimes using a grid as my guide. The final composition develops in the process, with each piece unique, some more organic, others more architectural. I am inspired by natural structures both on large scale or cellular level and man-made structures. I very often walk in nature or in New York City with a camera capturing patterns, repetition and the rhythm of life in the city. Consequently there is an interplay of the vertical and horizontal in my work.
I enjoy working in Series. For example, in the Units series a geometric structure is the basic framework for the composition. The geometric units establish the structure for line and color to interact. Unity arises from repetition with variation of design and shapes. The pieces are then finished through intensive machine and hand stitching, adding a final layer of texture and depth.
My pieces are not literal but are meant to convey an impression through the various patterns, colors and block structures. I look to evoke movement and rhythm within a unified composition, excitement and calm at once. My work is precise and structured, yet aspires towards freedom. My intention is to create unique images that celebrate the beauty and wonder of the world and engage the viewer in an explorative journey on the surface.