Sandra Benhaim, a native Philadelphian, is a painter working in oil, mixed media, and collages on canvas, wood panels, and paper. Sandra was always interested in art and in the visual – even when she was very young. Maybe it was the childhood visits to her dad’s Philadelphia sign-making shop and seeing his beautifully rendered sign “sketches,” with their crisply delineated letters and images in vibrant hues, that triggered this. Another inspiration, however, must have been her late uncle’s accomplished pastel self-portrait that hung in the family living room – something to strive towards. Perhaps this is what led to Sandra’s early interest in doing representational artwork, particularly portraits, as well as landscapes and still lifes. Pursuing her dreams, she won a full-paid four-year scholarship to the Tyler School of Art of Temple University. In addition to the bachelor of fine arts degree earned at this time, Sandra later returned to Tyler and got an M. Ed. degree.
During the twenty years following her undergraduate education at Tyler, Sandra was an art specialist teacher in the Philadelphia public schools and also instructed at neighborhood community centers. Her work was shown locally at various venues such as the Woodmere Museum, Delaware County Community College, and Temple University’s Mitten Hall. Especially gratifying was the exhibition of her work, and its inclusion in the catalog for, “The Tyler Show,” an exhibit which traveled to several U.S. locations.
Being a woman who has always sought to learn and to grow, Sandra began, in more recent years, to long for some major development in her artwork. Intrigued by abstract art, she took a class some years ago at a nearby art center to explore this new direction. Soon, “little pieces of landscapes” began to mix in her artwork with pure abstractions of color and texture.
After working representationally for years, she now creates mainly abstract images, often expressing these in unabashed, exuberant color. She has exhibited nationally from Washington state to New York to Florida. Sandra’s paintings are in public collections such as PNC Headquarters Tower in Pittsburgh, PA; Mondrian Investments, Philadelphia, PA office; Bryn Mawr Dermatology offices in Villanova, PA; RCCB LLC Law offices collection, Conshohocken, PA.
Sandra has participated in numerous juried group shows, earning awards along the way. Some of her accolades include: 2nd prize In Artspeak Collective’s Art As An Antidote: Inspiration and Hope for the Future; 3rd prize in The Plastic Club’s Small Worlds; Honorable Mention awarded in Small Works, National Association of Women Artists; Merit Award awarded in Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Art of The Flower.
Recently Philadelphia’s Del Frisco’s Grille commissioned her to do a 96”H x 78”W painting on stretched canvas, which was installed in November 2018.