Eden Bender is an established Toronto based sculptor and painter. Eden’s paintings utilize a minimalist colour palette amplifying the densely textured surfaces. Her monochromatic paintings at first glance appear quiet and placid, but upon closer inspection, visions of soft-focus memories shift shape into surreal and unsettling territory. At first blush, the quiet nesting of images seems relaxed and tranquil until her narrative titles lead you down a rocky path. Blurred figures transform meaning, solidify, and what was once a familiar dream, can take a sudden sinister turn. Like the calm before the storm we are at a crossroad, this new information produces avenues of very personal association. Eden’s paintings open up her world of soft-focus images into a psychological flux. Imagery is open-ended, a boat, a man with the features of a rabbit and an empty field with a group of seated figures, all of these refuse to settle into any prescribed meaning instead, creating a nascent narrative. Eden’s involvement in her community has always been a great source of inspiration and education. Through her volunteer commitments with various non-profit organizations, Eden’s work has been influenced by the adversity of the human condition. In a recent series titled “Moss” Eden states “Dead matter and decay provide the habitat for a wide array of moss. Life from death, light from dark. Brilliant almost iridescent colours provide a blinding palette. Textures draw you in to touch. The repetitive technique and exploration of industrial materials are carried throughout my work. Layers of synthetic materials are applied to mimic the organic properties of moss. The dichotomy between light and dark are echoed throughout both my sculpture and painting. It is the psychological aspects of a driven, overstimulated generation, including myself, that compels me to search out an inner calmness and a sense of self-fulfilment”. Eden Bender’s sculptural work is both conceptual and figurative. It often relies on scale to draw the observer into a surreal world of transformation and metamorphosis; a world where the unusual juxtaposition of static and dynamic is the norm. Fulcrums, ladders, and hoops all inform this playful yet sombre environment. The sculptures are mostly built from paper clay and are often scribed then glazed and red numerous times. Eden’s experimental glaze work imbues the sculptures with the intriguing patina of some rediscovered ancient artefact. Eden will often introduce non-traditional ceramic glazes and the use of metal and cement, as well as other found objects, into her sculptures.
Eden studied at George Brown and at York University. In 1990 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine arts with honours. Her sculptures have been exhibited several times at the Gardiner Museum and her work is in the permanent collection at The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. She has received numerous awards including the L.L. Odette Sculpture Award, the Ontario Arts Council Award, the Toronto Potters Award of Excellence, Tuckers Award of Expression, the Pottery Supply House Award of Excellence and the Ontario Craft Council Award for Best Design. Eden is currently living and working in Toronto.