Neil Bender

Associate Professor - Painting/Drawing
MFA, University of Georgia
Phone: 813.974.2360
Office: FAH 245

“The aim of the work is to seduce and give pleasure through imagery that is social and accessible. To suspend the viewer’s interaction with the work, I deploy ‘hooks’ such as graphic imagery and lurid color to create an overflowing, lascivious world of flowering, fluid fragments that are theatrical and explore many possible genders and sexual situations. Pink is used as a color of identification, which is descriptive of all of our internal bodies. Its feminine connotations are embraced and simultaneously upended to create aggressive images. Installation has become a method to create stages for the many characters of my practice; small theatres within larger theatres.

Since a typically American adolescence of pop residue (such as baseball, pro wrestling, He-Man, hip-hop and shopping malls) in urban New Jersey, I have looked to image –making as a way of negotiating biological drives and urges with culture’s beautifully decorative facades, social norms, and stilted morality. Most of our humor revolves around the obscene; my work aims to use humor as a start to open up other far-reaching and probing investigations. I hope the viewer can use my objects for the alleviation of anxiety and the eradication of desire to reach a welcomingly volatile space where every fantasy and fetish is potentially fulfilled.

A consistent image in my work over the past couple of years is a stylized icon of a pheromone. It is a winged, phallic-like nose that acts as an attractor that swarms and putters about, looking to attract and seduce viewers.”

Neil Bender has shown nationally with recent exhibitions at New York, New Orleans, Boston, and Santa Monica, and has been featured in prominent shows at the Atlanta Contemporary and the Boston Center for the Arts. His work has been shown and represented in the Scope and Select Fairs in Miami and New York, as well as Circa PR in San Juan. His work was featured twice in New American Paintings​, and the massive book project Strange Attractors: Investigations in Non-Humanoid Extraterrestrial Sexualities, and is featured in arts publications Intercourse and Requited. ​Bender has attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Vermont Studio Center. He received his BFA from Rutgers University and his MFA from the University of Georgia, where he received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. He is co-founder of Quaid Gallery in Tampa. ​