Curator and Staff Bios
Steven Alan Bennett established The Bennett Collection of Women Realists in 2009. The Collection is limited to figurative realist paintings of women by women artists and includes work by some of the most exciting women painters currently working: Margaret Bowland, Aleah Chapin, Andrea Kowch, Alyssa Monks, Katie O’Hagan, Pamela Wilson and dozens of others on the cutting edge of figurative realism. Bennett bases the Collection on two similar but different beliefs. First, while women painters have produced remarkable work for centuries, they have not received the same degree of acceptance as their male counterparts. Second, in addition to gender discrimination, figurative realism is disfavored in many art schools, universities and galleries, which have ignored or repudiated the realistic depiction of persons or figures. Thus, Bennett has limited the Collection to women figurative realists to celebrate the fabulous work that these women are creating. In 2013, Bennett and his spouse and co-curator, Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, began discussing the creation of an art prize that would enable them to address discrimination against women painters and support and promote figurative realism. Over a period of several years, the Bennetts refined this idea, ultimately endowing The Bennett Prize Fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation. The goal of the Prize is to celebrate and honor women figurative realists by encouraging their work and helping to launch or propel their careers as fine art painters. Bennett has a BA in Art History from the University of Notre Dame and pursued a fine arts degree at the University of Kansas.
Barry Blinderman is a curator, writer, educator, and singer-songwriter. From 1980 to ’87, he directed Semaphore Gallery and Semaphore East in Soho and the East Village [in New York], respectively, where he championed the work of Martin Wong, Nancy Dwyer, Duncan Hannah, Ellen Berkenblit, Robert Colescott, Tseng Kwong Chi, and other artists emerging at that time. As director of University Galleries of Illinois State University from 1987 to 2018, he curated the first traveling U.S. museum exhibitions for David Wojnarowicz, Michelle Grabner, Walter Robinson, Keith Haring, Jane Dickson, Tony Tasset, and many others. His interviews and essays on artists from Andy Warhol and Robert Longo to Steve Reich and Danica Phelps have been published internationally in museum catologues, anthologies, and art magazines. Recordings and videos of his solo and collaborative music can be found on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
John Dalton is best known in the art world for his podcast, "john Dalton - gently does it . . .” which features long-form interviews with figurative artists from around the world.
As well as podcasting John is also an artist, writer, and craniosacral therapist. His association with the visual arts started in the 1980s when he worked in the animation industry on productions like, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” He went on to work on many productions in film and television, acting, writing and producing.
He had a number of solo exhibitions of his photographic work in the early 90’s. It was also around this time he trained as a craniosacral therapist, moving to Australia number of years later and founding The Australian Institute of Craniosacral Therapy.
John has written four books about health, consciousness and spirituality.
In the last six years his artistic practice has focused on figurative painting and drawing.
He lives and works in Kerry, Ireland. www.JohnDalton.me.
April Carter Grant grew up in rural Illinois and began collecting art during her study of graphic design and illustration at art school in the 1990s. Her contributions to the PA world include design, photography, writing, and editing for various issues of OCHO, MiPoesias, and PoetsArtists as well as books by Franklin Bruno and Grace Cavalieri, with whom she created 50/50: Words & Images for Didi Menendez. As a collector, her current primary interests are figurative works with female subjects and modern sculpture. She resides in Los Angeles.
Lorena Kloosterboer (the Netherlands, 1962) creates contemporary realist still lifes, focusing on glass and ceramic pieces, sometimes accompanied by birds. She studied at the art academy Beato Angélico in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her thirty + year career Kloosterboer’s artwork has won numerous awards and has participated in over 100 gallery and museum exhibitions in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Five of her bronze statues enjoy permanent public installation in Wassenaar, the Netherlands.
Recent exhibition highlights include Painting Today/Pintando Hoy celebrating International Women's Day, curated by Didi Menendez, at the Museum of Modern Art MEAM in Barcelona, Spain (2019), Galería Artelibre's twentieth anniversary exhibition 20 años en 20x20 held at the Palacio Bantierra in Zaragoza, Spain (2019), WTF at the PoetsArtists' booth, hosted by Sirona Fine Art, held at the 21st Annual Art Palm Beach International, Palm Beach (2018), We Are Food Exhibition held at Museum Jan Cunen, in Oss, the Netherlands (2018), 28th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show at Abend Gallery, Denver, Colorado (2018), Size Doesn't Matter: Small Works Exhibition, curated by Susan Meisel, held at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York City (2017), Reinventing Ourselves from Another Point of View at the 33 Contemporary Gallery / Zhou B Art Center in Chicago (2016), Masterworks from the International Guild of Realism, at the Albany Museum of Art, in Albany, Georgia (2016).
Kloosterboer’s artwork has been published in US and international art magazines, including Southwest Art, International Artist Magazine, American Art Collector, The Artist Magazine (UK), and PoetsArtists, as well as in several books and art catalogs, including the Dutch book entitled Beeldend Wassenaar, a children’s book entitled Artikel 12* published by the Center for Peace in Belgium, Lexi Sundell’s book Acrylic Artist's Guide to Exceptional Colour, Rheni Tauchid’s book Acrylic Painting – Mediums & Methods, the museum catalog entitled The Reality of Things: Trompe l’Oeil in America published by the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the Dutch museum catalog entitled We Are Food published by Museum Jan Cunen, in Arte y Libertad XII published by Galería Artelibre, and she has been named as one among 100 most noteworthy women artists of the Low Countries in the art history book by Professor Katlijne Van der Stighelen entitled Vrouwenstreken, Unforgettable Female Painters from the Low Countries from 1550 until today (Dutch language, published in Belgium and the Netherlands).
Kloosterboer’s book Painting in Acrylics: The Indispensable Guide was first published worldwide in American English in 2014 and has since appeared in three additional languages under different titles and covers.
During the past several years Kloosterboer has regularly been writing art and exhibition reviews for PoetsArtists, as well as catalog and exhibition introductions, and engaged in several curatorial projects. Lorena Kloosterboer currently lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. www.art-lorena.com.
Painting Today | International Women’s Day at the MEAM
Daniel Maidman is best known for his vivid depiction of the figure. Maidman’s drawings and paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Long Beach Museum of Art. His art and writing on art have been featured in The Huffington Post, PoetsArtists, ARTnews, Beautiful/Bizarre, Forbes, W, Juxtapoz, Hyperallergic, International Artist, American Art Collector, D/Railed, Whitehot and Manifest. He has been shown in solo shows in New York City and in group shows across New York, the United States, and Europe. He is a repeat guest critic at the New York Academy of Art. His books, Daniel Maidman: Nudes and Theseus: Vincent Desiderio on Art, are available from Griffith Moon Publishing. He lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.
Dulce Menendez, also known as Didi, was born in Cuba (1960) is a pioneer of online publishing, curator, artist, and author. She has been active online since 1995 including setting up poetry forums, podcasts, and creating online websites for various projects including buying domain names with typos such as www.mipoesias.com. Her poetry has been exhibited in I AMerican, and her digital video self-portrait at the Zhou B Art Center. Her publications have been featured in various Best American Poetry anthologies and THE Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has been published in various journals in print and online including Gargoyle Magazine and No Tell Motel. Many of the works she has published or shown have been acquired by private and public collections. She currently is actively pursuing exhibitions, creating social media content, and writing articles while overseeing the tribe at PoetsArtists at www.poetsandartists.com. She newly launched a new publication, Hashtag Art Magazine. She has curated exhibitions at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, Bernarducci.Meisel Gallery in New York, and the MEAM in Barcelona.
Jay Menendez (b. 1996) is an Assistant, Editor, Website Manager for PoetsArtists. Apart from her work with PoetsArtists, Jay is a figure model for life drawing. She also creates felted crafts and personal illustrative works. She resides in Bloomington, IL, with her two turtles, Chuckles and Squirmy. jaymenendez.com
David Molesky (b.1977) is a Brooklyn-based painter and writer. Molesky grew up in Washington DC and received a BA in 1999 from UC Berkeley with a major in Art Practice and Pre-Medicine with an emphasis in Neurobiology. In the years following, Molesky apprenticed with several classical painters, including Odd Nerdrum and David Ligare. In the last decade, Molesky has painted a variety of subject matter in oils, including turbulent seawater, forest fires, and figurative narrative compositions. These works conceptualize humanity’s relation to the sublime. Molesky’s paintings have been featured internationally at museums including: the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Pasinger Fabrik, Germany; The Museum Casa Dell’Architettura, Italy; and Telemarksgaleriet. The Long Beach Museum of Art among other public institutions in Europe, Asia, and the United States hold Molesky’s work in their permanent collections. He has been the recipient of several artist residency awards through the Morris Graves Foundation, California; Fine Art Base, California; and the Fundacja Nakielska, Poland. Molesky and his work have been featured in many publications including; New American Painting, LA Times, and The Washington Post. In addition to his painting practice, he is also a frequent contributor to the print editions of Juxtapoz Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur, and for the online editions of TRAC Magazine and PoetsArtists.
Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt spent her work career facilitating the education of younger students. As teacher and administrator she was involved in creating learning environments for students with special learning needs.
Elaine is now spending her time and energy on a number of other projects she holds close to her heart. She lives with her husband, Steven Alan Bennett, in San Antonio, Texas. She and Steven are art collectors who specialize in realist paintings of women by women artists. This undertaking has afforded them the opportunity to create a collection of women experiencing various emotions from all walks of life as well as to meet many creative artists. The couple recently launched The Bennett Prize, designed to propel the careers of women painters who are or seek to become full-time professional painters. The first prize winner will be announced in May 2019 in conjunction with a show featuring all the finalists’ work called “Rising Voices: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realists” at the Muskegon Museum of Art.
Dr. Schmidt also was one of the curators for the successful show “Visions of Venus/Venus’s Visions” held at the Zhou B. Center in 2018. Current and future art related projects include co-curating the PoetsArtists Exhibitions.
Victoria Selbach is an American contemporary artist focusing on women. She is best known for her larger than life nude depictions of powerful women. Selbach’s work exhibits within galleries, museums and collections throughout the United States and abroad including the Heckscher Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art and the Meam in Barcelona. The Huffington Post reviewed Selbach’s work in an article by Priscilla Frank, ‘Finally, Artist Paints Female Nudes As They Really Are’ and Selbach discussed her work in an 2018 interview with Beautiful Bizarre magazine, Victoria Selbach: Painting With Emotional Layers. Selbach, as a writer and curator, is a strong advocate for women artists. Her contributions to PoetsArtists magazine include a cover story on Elizabeth A Sackler, a series of interviews with art world leaders and curating the blockbuster exhibition The Artists Gaze; Seeing Women in the 21st Century. An archive of Selbach’s work can be found at victoriaselbach.com