Firmly rooted here, the decision to remain is based on my ecstasy of this place. The light is constantly changing and the dramatic rock formations are exciting. I can take a walk down a path anywhere in Newfoundland and rejoice in nature. Nature is so abstract by its very nature. It offers the artist constant changes. Viewers are often expecting a photographic vision. I try to blend the abstract into my interpretation of what I have discovered.
- Sylvia Bendzsa, 1999
Excerpt from artist statement in What's Happening vol.23, no.8, February 1999, p.13.
Sylvia Bendzsa is a printmaker and painter known for her landscapes and St. John's street scenes.
Bendzsa was born in London, Ontario, in 1942. She studied commercial art illustration at the Ontario College of Art and printmaking at Ohio University's School of Fine Art. In 1996, she obtained a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
Bendzsa moved to Newfoundland in 1974. She began working as a volunteer at St. Michael's Printshop and then served for three years as chairperson of its board of directors. She has worked as a freelance illustrator and designer, as a visual art coordinator for the Sound Symposium, and as an art director for the multimedia presentation Marconi...Wizard of Wireless. She has also served as a past executive director of the Visual Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador (VANL). In 2006, Bendza and printmaker Cecil Day were The Rooms 2006 Landfall Artists-in-Residence.
71 x 52 cm
Though often recognized as a printmaker, Bendzsa is proficient in many media, including painting and installation. Some of her pieces feature interactive components, such as doors that spectators can walk through and sculptures with sound accompaniments. Her willingness to experiment with contemporary media makes it difficult to categorize Bendzsa's work, which can be finely detailed and colourful, or starkly abstract and monochromatic.
Bendzsa's work has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions, such as City and Sea, organized by Memorial University Art Gallery (now The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery) in 1988; Boundaries, organized by Eastern Edge Art Gallery in 1989; Somewhere Near Canada... organized by the Devon House Craft Gallery in 1999; and Brigus Residency, which appeared at the Grenfell Campus Art Gallery in 2012.
Bendzsa is represented in many private and public collections, such as The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery's Permanent Collection, the Canada Council Art Bank, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her work has travelled across Canada in exhibitions and collections with such organizations as Labatt Breweries, Lloyds of London, and Fishery Products International.