Jane Benson  
Excerpts from New Views- World Financial Center by N. Banai, Catalogue, 2003

“Happy Faux Flora, Jane Benson’s manipulation of artificial plants, is an incisive comment on the process of constructing ‘reality effects’. As she alters the silhouettes of silk Ficus trees, geraniums, , peace lilies an philodendrons—manufactured flora that masquerades as authentic—he is also revealing that the perception and understanding of the real is related to a multitude of highly simulated gestures. The experience of the everyday is, in effect an accumulation of contexts, habits and environments that can be reshaped once they are revealed as artificial. While most ‘reality effects’ do not reveal themselves as such, Benson makes sure to leave an indexical trace of her intervention through the repetitive manual gestures that created the transformation. In the guise of decorative objects that enliven the atrium of the world Financial Center, Benson’s floras are a critical reminder that the time to reimagine the social experience of the everyday is now.”

“Representation opens up a form of self-reflection for the individual by containing contradictory concepts, maintaining and revealing power relations, and mediating between the tenuous space of the subjective experience and objective reality. This tension ideally leads to an awareness of the roles that these concepts play in manipulating a normative ideology and shaping our experience of historical reality. Indeed, as the works of Villar, McGrath, Lehman, Benson and Cuffie stress, the unimagined possibilities in the “everyday to come” will only emerge through the destabilization of current systems of knowledge that administer the body and the space it occupies.”

Nuit Banai is an art historian and critic based in Boston and New York City. She teaches modern and contemporary art at Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts.