When art and confection meet 

Sweet Dreams

New works by Sally King Benedict
On view through March 1
Sugar Bakeshop
101 Cannon St.
(843) 579-2891
www.MargoKauffmanGallery.com

Sugar Bakeshop sits on the center of Cannon Street between Rutledge Avenue and Coming Street. Charming and simple, the exterior by itself was enough for me to realize the Sally Benedict show would be more than I was expecting.

I saw her work with other artists at a previous show put on by Jeffery Rhodes, owner of www.MargoKaufmanGallery.com, an online gallery specializing in emerging contemporary artists.

Rhodes has a knack for finding rare, unknown local talent — and Benedict is no exception. The few earlier paintings I had seen were dazzling. The texture of her oil paintings alone is enough to make you stand there enraptured as you follow the rivets of her brushwork. Needless to say, I was excited to see how well she would adapt to the setting of a bakery.

Set amid Sugar's modern soda shop decor, Benedict's work feels like walking in a confectionary dream. Modern metal appliances twist with robin's egg blues. Fresh strawberry tartlets rest in cardboard egg crates while a waitress dressed like Betty Boop passes out buttercream cupcakes.

Luminaries illuminate the white gravel patio outside, where more sugary goodness awaits on top of vintage soda machines and brushed-silver tables. At the end of the walkway hangs one of Benedict's larger paintings — "Mount Me," a 36-by-48-inch painting depicting a multitude of animal heads.

While the subject sounds dreary, the bright and pastel colors create a fanciful effect. There's a flirtatious, sketchy quality in her work. This balances the dreamy color and gives her painting a more serious edge.

Sugar reorganized the countertops for the show, allowing patrons to walk through its immaculate, tiny kitchen. On the other side, a glass garage door has been lifted to reveal more tables with candles, holding iced-sugar cookies that melt in your mouth, and metal tubs holding iced champagne.

Along one wall hangs a multitude of small round human heads. These miniatures are opposite a larger painting called "Sebastian." Layer on layer of paint gives the canvas a sea of color that somehow manages to work together.

The works were so reasonably priced that most, including a smaller series of animal heads, rapidly disappeared by the end of the night I was there. It was a success.

I was pleasantly surprised how well the art matched its venue. Benedict's coarse outlines harmonized with the venue's metal surfaces and machinery while her floaty colors were a perfect parallel to their sugary surroundings.


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