Phil Bender might best be described as a pure assemblagist, his art being derived wholly from collecting and ordering. The Denver-based artist arranges commonplace objects such as toolboxes, potholders, and matchbooks into rows or grids of like things on walls, floors, and shelves.
As simple as Bender’s works may appear, they function on a surprising number of visual, conceptual, and emotional levels, each assemblage becoming far more than the sum of its parts. As used objects, the components of his works carry with them a history and a sense of nostalgia. At the same time, Bender recontextualizes the objects in their own right, allowing viewers to see them in fresh ways; suddenly, previously overlooked stepladders, potato mashers or egg-beaters are revealed as formally fascinating objects. And the repetitive pattern of the grid gives each collection a visually compelling presence no matter what its constituent elements.
*Excerpt from https://www.artforum.com/events/phil-bender-199122/