For an artist who’s laid low for several years, this 34-year-old’s return to the scene has certainly been remarkable and for good reason. In 2020, she had two solo shows: one at Coda Culture; the other at Cuturi Gallery.
Come March, the latter space will hold another exhibition of her works. In the spotlight: her powerfully personal paintings featuring most prominently the body – headless bodies, torsos, warts and all – that however visceral or suggestive, evoke a tender beauty. They’re also her first shows comprising solely of paintings.
Throughout her decade-long career, Marla – as she prefers to be known – has juggled various disciplines, but picked up painting again last year because she wanted to re-explore a part of her that had been dormant. She works intuitively: Each piece starts with spontaneous strokes before shapes take hold and “reveal themselves to her”.
Artist Marla Bendini
The body is a recurring motif because she loves its ability to communicate “endless things” and as someone who struggles with gender and body dysmorphia, eating disorder and addiction, the process can be semi-cathartic, reminding her to be gentle towards herself as she works through such issues, says the artist who identifies as transgender.
She also hopes to alleviate others in similar situations. “I want my paintings to have an impact, but also soothe and comfort like an aura.”
Below, a condensed interview with Marla.