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Patricia A. Bender

Patricia A. Bender is a photo-based visual artist living and working in New Jersey and Michigan. She began studying photography in the early 2000s, and was hooked from the moment she shot and developed her first image. She works exclusively in the darkroom with black and white media, and personally creates each image from the moment it is conceived through the finished gelatin silver print.  She has recently added drawing to her artistic practice, and often uses her drawings as paper negatives in the darkroom to create unique cliché-verre prints.


Bender has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally.  She is an artist on the curated White Columns artist registry, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including being named to the 2018 Critical Mass Top 50 and as a 2020 Critical Mass Finalist.  Bender’s work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, The Hand Magazine, Lenscratch, The O/D Review and Analog Forever Magazine, among others, and is held in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Michigan State University, as well as many other public, corporate, and private collections.

Artist Statement

Cliché-verre, French for glass picture, was invented in 1839.  The cliché-verre process involves creating a photographic print from a handmade negative instead of from a negative produced on film in a camera.

To create my prints I make a drawing using any combination of paper and drawing media to serve as my negative in the darkroom.  The drawing is placed on top of the gelatin silver paper and exposed to light to produce a contact print of the drawing on the light sensitive paper below.  It is then processed as you would any black and white print.  I sometimes use different filters and diffusion screens while exposing the print to achieve certain effects, and I have experimented with layering drawings to create “double exposures.”  I also combine the cliché-verre paper negative with photogram objects to create a hybrid image of both.  I am willing to try just about anything to see what will happen.

Lately I have begun drawing on the cliché-verre print itself, experimenting with different drawing media… including thread… and with damaging the print before drawing on in.

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Geometry 204, 2019

Release Date: August 19, 2022

Curiosity.  A willingness to embrace chance and serendipity.  An openness to experimentation. These are critical elements in my creative practice because they allow me to lose myself in my work and be surprised by what I create.  

I am a strong proponent of mastering your craft.  Once you have done so, the real fun begins. You can test the limits of what you’ve learned, break all the rules you’ve been taught and set out on your own unique path of artistic expression.

In the work selected for the f22 edition I was trying to break free from the more formal structure + rules of geometric abstraction + instill a feeling of whimsy + fun in the images.