Photographer’s Somerville Exhibit Inspired by the Peace of Wild Things

SOMERVILLE, NJ — Gallery on Main’s “Artist of the Month” series continues with an exhibition of landscape photographs by Somerset, New Jersey-based artist Dana Benner, on view Oct. 3-31

 Admission is free, and the artist’s works are available for purchase. The Gallery is at 30 West Main St. in downtown Somerville.

Meet the artist at a free opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 5-7: p.m.

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Benner has been a photographer for most of her life. As the daughter of a photographer, she grew up with a camera in her hand at an early age. However, it wasn’t until college and after graduation that she pursued photography as a career. 

 “I enjoy capturing the scenery of the beautiful places I visit along with the serendipitous moments that appear all around us. In the turmoil of the past few months as I thought about a body of work for my exhibit, I kept returning to a beautiful poem by Wendell Berry titled ‘The Peace of Wild Things.’ This poem was the inspiration for this show,” Benner said.

She continues, “In this time of COVID and a forced shutdown, I found myself spending a lot more time outdoors in nature, quenching my thirst to go somewhere, anywhere. Long walks along the Delaware-Raritan Canal Tow Path, leisurely strolls through the neighborhood and quiet evenings sitting in my backyard were some of my inspiration. The more I walked, the more I saw. It surprised me how many beautiful things came into view and with that came comfort. A blue heron stood in the tall grass with its bright yellow eye following me as I approached. She didn’t fly as I inched closer but stayed and invited me to join her. Dragonflies zigzagged and skated along the water’s edge as a bald eagle soared high above, circling back to give me a second chance to marvel at its majestic grace. The more time I spent in nature, the more I wanted to discover nature. 

“In each of these daily outings, nature gave me a gift. Sometimes I caught it with my camera, sometimes not. Someone said to me recently, ‘Time before COVID was linear, rushing forward at an incredible fast pace with life blurring by. Now time feels very wide, slow moving and expansive.’

“I could not agree more,” Benner said. “We were sports cars speeding down life’s highway with the world nothing but a big blur. Now we are classic cars out for a Sunday drive, moving slow enough to see that the big blur is made up of a million little pieces. Here in the woods, at the ocean, along the water’s edge or in a field of wildflowers, we are reminded that we are all part of something greater than ourselves. Let us rest in the beauty that lies around us. It is in this slowness we can see reasons for hope. I trust you see them too.”

Please note: Due to COVID-19, for everyone’s safety social distancing guidelines are in effect and masks must be worn at all times. No exceptions.

Gallery on Main is open Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mondays through Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. 

To learn more, visit, call 908-722-4234 or follow @galleryonmainsomerville on Facebook and Instagram. 



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