Susan Benarcik

Studio & Gallery

Benarcik Design Wilmington, DE

Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.

Installation/Sculpture + 3D

Mixed Media

Artist's Statement

I spend a lot of time in nature, with plants. They are part of almost every facet of my life: my work, social interests, the things I read, the artwork I make. Even as a child, I was obsessed with greenhouses and gardens. I observed plants and their reactions to their environment, and thought perhaps that I had a better understanding of plants than of people. As I began to make art formally, I delighted in expressing how humans and plants possess tenacious and yielding qualities, they can either wilt or flourish in the face of adversity. I used nature and plants as metaphors for the human experience, and titled mixed media work on paper, “Feeling Dormant,” “Attempting Actuality,” and “This Wall Grows Around Me.”

Over the years, my work became increasingly experimental and temporal. I found that organic materials such as earth, vines, flowers, roots, and seeds, had global associations, and by incorporating these materials in my work I could communicate a universal connection to the environment. My early large-scale sculptural works entitled, “Greenhouse Effect,” “Mental Notes,” and “Losing Touch with Reality,” each made with natural and found materials, yielded to the elements as they moved in the breeze, grew, rotted, and disintegrated.

Presently, my sculptural work and mixed media on paper are on many levels about how all species- plants, animals, and humans consciously and unconsciously respond to their physical environments. My human-scale installations are designed to engage viewers in a very physical way, by creating environments for bodies to consciously or unconsciously react to. My smaller sculptures begin as investigations of natural forms created by living organisms, and end as expressions of new life forms. A curiously camouflaged, papier-mache sculpture appropriately titled “Adapting Algae” drips down a wall in a gallery space, suggesting natural adaptation to an imposed environment. Making connections between human interests and the environment, I layer, stitch, and graft together images, maps, photographs, natural materials, and words in my mixed media works on paper.

Whether I use words, images, or organic materials to convey my thoughts regarding all species and their connection to their environments, nature is my rubric and my compass, inspiration and model, and serves as the grand strategist and engineer with all the answers that continually lures me to its company.

Selected Exhibitions

Evidence of Meaning, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD

NEST; A Collaborative Project, Creative District, Wilmington, DE

The Arden Woods, Buzz Ware Village Center, Arden, DE

Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE

Blossoms, Old City Publishing, Philadelphia, PA

Mezzanine Gallery, Delaware Division of the Arts, Wilmington, DE

Sculpture, Highlands Art Garage, Wilmington, DE

The Grey Area, New York Design Center, New York, NY

Open Studio Tour, The Random Tea Salon, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Selections, Jen Going Interiors, Westhampton Beach, NY

Photography and Drawing, The Gardener, Berkley, CA

Material Texture, Desiron SoHo, New York, NY

Collected Responses, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY

A Peculiar Nature, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY

Watermark, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT

Liminal, Delaware Center Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE

Rethought, Broadway Windows NYU, New York, NY

Somewhere Between, Storage Art Space, New York, NY

Human Conditions, Destinations, New York, NY

Organically Grown, Fiacre & Fleur, Swarthmore, PA

Liminal, Washington Square Windows, New York University, NY

In The Viewing Room, Inman Gallery, Houston, TX

Delaware Division of the Arts, Biggs Museum of Art, Dover, DE
Award Winners XIX

Gateways to Nature, Tyler Arboretum, Media, PA

Trees of Life, Old City Jewish Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA

Delaware Museum of Art, Wilmington, DE
Juried Craft Exhibition

Sublime Art in Nature, Rehoboth Art League, Rehoboth, DE

Alumni Exhibition, Patricia Nugent Gallery, Rosemont, PA

Grand Opening, West Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA

Celebrating New Acquisitions

Biennial Outdoor Sculptural Invitational, Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD

Teaching Artist Exhibition, Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

InLiquid @ Park Towne Place, Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA

Beige!, HERE Art, New York, NY
Curator: Lovina Purple

Expanding Mode, Concepto Hudson, Hudson, NY

Open Channels; Art in the Open, CFEVA Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Prickly, Tender & Steamy, Glyndor Gallery Wave Hill, Bronx, NY

Encountering Nature, Towson University, Towson, MD

Dendrology, The Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, NJ

Mad About Art & Design, Tribeca Project Space, New York, NY

Nurturing Nature, Freedman Gallery Albright College, Reading, PA

Consuming Boundaries, Perkins Center for Art, Collingswood, NJ

Bootstrap Festival, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY

A Circumstantial Assembly, Levy Gallery Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Corporeal, Borowsky Gallery Gershman Y, Philadelphia, PA

National Juried Craft Triennial, Silvermine Craft Center, New Caanan, CT

BASF Private Function, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Gardens Found and Constructed, Spencertown Academy of Art, Spencertown, NY

Leaf Cloud; Nature Tangible and Transcendent, Fair Folks and A Goat, New York, NY

Spring Ecolux Designer Show 2011, Bloomingdale’s Soho, New York, NY

Pasted Papers, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Nurturing Nature: Artists and the Environment, Osilas Gallery Concordia College, Bronxville, NY

Dumbo Art Project Collaboration, West Elm Showroom, Brooklyn, NY

Sculpting Nature, CFEVA Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Nature’s Enchantment, Tyler Arboretum, Media, PA

Free Form, Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ

The Garden, Tribeca Project Space, New York, NY

The Ins and Outs, Rockland Center for Art, West Nyack, NJ

Green Art for Green Spaces, Green Spaces NYC, New York, NY

CFEVA Fellows Exhibit, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

Introductions, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Narrative Thread: an Invitational, Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery, New York, NY

Viridis, The Hewitt Gallery, New York, NY

White Hot, Bahdeebahdu, Philadelphia, PA

Trifolia, Delaware Center for Horticulture, Wilmington, DE

Gallery in The Garden, Private Residence, Devault, PA

Home is Where the Art Is, Philadelphia Opens Studios

Second Nature, Crafts for Living, East Falls, PA

Sticks and Stones, Private Residence, Devault, PA

Gallery in The Garden, Private Residence, Kempton, PA

Pulp Fiction, Bahdeebahdu, Philadelphia, PA

Gallery in The Garden, Private Residence, Kempton, PA

Recent Work, Spencertown Academy, New York, NY

Lost & Found, Savage Gallery, Portland, OR

25th Annual Small Works Show, Washington Square Gallery, New York, NY

CoLABoration, GALE Gates, Brooklyn, NY

Gathering Time, Cranbrook Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Gathering Time, Houston Art League, Houston, TX

Artist's Bibliography

Isaacs, J. Susan, Encountering Nature, Catalogue, August 2013

Crafts, Lark, 500 Paper Objects, April 2013
Juror: Gene McHugh

Schwartz, Chip, "Out of Bounds," Knight Arts, July 2012

Donohue, Victoria, "Body Awareness," Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2012

Donohue, Victoria, "Sculpting Nature," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 31, 2010

Perkins, Marie, Print and Pattern: A Visual Celebration of Contemporary Surface Design, April 15, 2010 p. 282

Aarons, Asa, "TriBeCa Workspace Sprouts Eco-Friendly Jobs," NY 1 Living, January 24, 2010

Studio Visit:A juried selection of International Visual Artists Vol. 8, January 2009 p. 11

Marsh, Anna, In Design Issue: Encounters with People Products Projects #37, January 2009 p. 32

Lubowski-Jahn, Alicia, "Launch Green Spaces A Place for Ecopreneurs," Eco-Chick, November 18, 2009

Doan, Abigail, "Recycled Paper Sculptures by Susan Benarcik," Inhabitat, January 17, 2009

Nelson, Stephanie, "Green Artist Spotlight: Susan Benarcik," Natural Home Magazine, February 18, 2009

Tiger, Caroline, "New Salons: Homes are Where the Art Is," The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 17, 2008

Cole, Marissa, "Artist Gives Found Materials A New Form," Wilmington News Journal, June 9, 2005

Donohoe, Victoria, "LIMINAL," The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 20, 1998

Professional Experience

Teaching and Workshops
Jester Art Space, Wilmington, DE

Delaware College Art & Design, Wilmington, DE
New Mediums; New Perspectives

Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA
Fiber Metamorphosis

Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

2015 - 2017
Delaware College of Art & Design, Wilmington, DE

Main Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

Highlands Art Garage, Wilmington, DE

General Electric Global Leadership Program, Crontonville, NY

Mt Cuba Center, Hockessin, DE

Delaware Center for Horticulture, Wilmington, DE
Eco-Fusion Workshop

General Electric Global Leadership Program, Crotonville, NY

2012 - 2013
K-5 Educator, A Living Library & Think Park at PS 217, Roosevelt Island, NY

Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Sustainability and the Artist's Practice

Grants, Awards and Fellowships

Individual Artist Fellowship Grant, Delaware Division of the Arts and Delaware State Arts Council

National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grand to Organizations and Artists

Artist as Entrepreneur Program, New York Foundation for the Arts

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Award

Fellowship, The Center For Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA)

Award for Outstanding Craft Exhibition, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE

Artist Residency/Fellowship, Core Program Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Artist Residency/ Fellowship, Core Program Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX


Artist in Residence, Digital Stone Project, Mercerville, NJ

Artist in Residence, Wave Hill Artist Residency Program, New York, NY

Artist in Residence, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY

Artist in Residence, I-Park, East Haddam, CT

Artist in Residence, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY

Artist in Residence, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY

Apprentice, Fabric Workshop of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


(Permanent Installations and Commissioned Works)
First Dibs, New York, NY
Paoli Hospital Sculpture Garden, Paoli, PA
Museum of Fine Art Print Collection, Houston, TX
I-Park Sculpture Park, East Haddam, CT
Elisabeth and Michael Kalogris Collection, Devault, PA, New York, NY
Edward F. Albee Foundation Collection, New York, NY
Private Collection, Fishers Island, FL
Printmaking Workshop, New York, NY
Archer Huntington Gallery, University of Texas at Austin, TX
Franklin Furnace Archive at MOMA, New York, NY
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
The Sheraton Society Hill Collection, Philadelphia, PA
Du Pont CO. Private Collection, Wilmington, DE
Madison Art Center, Madison, WI
Oregon Art Institute, Portland, OR
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Print Club of Albany, Albany, NY
California State University, Long Beach, CA

Lectures and Talks

Visiting Artist Lecturer, "Surface Design," University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Graduate Seminar Lecture, "Sustainability + the Artist’s Practice," Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA

CFEVA Artist Lecture Series, "Artists Working In the Environment," Philadelphia, PA

Panel Artist, Wave Hill Winter Workspace Program, Bronx, NY


Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
MFA, Printmaking

Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA