"My hand-built ceramic sculptures take the form of stylized figures and animals that reflect problematic relationship between humans and the natural world. Like monsters, these clay figures often act as a warning, or show some sort of unfamiliar reality through their distortions and abstractions. My work references some visual language used in art historical periods like the 1960’s and 70’s Funk Ceramics movement, as well as some other familiar historical conventions. Frequently, an uncanny and strange sense of humor is used as a hook, inviting an audience to look at something more serious than initially implied by these playfully articulated works.
Current day and historical environmental issues influence the work I make. I grew up on a 14-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River in Maine that currently requires an oxygen bubbler to prevent the fish from suffocating. Because of this, I foster environmental awareness. Having lived in proximity to a river that has been partially revitalized, but is still on life support, inspires me to research global environmental problems and models for solutions. This research guides me to the people involved in environmental conflicts, and ultimately informs the iconography and characters that inhabit my work."
Benjamin is currently an assistant professor of Art at Baldwin Wallace University, in Berea, OH where he teaches ceramics and sculpture. He lives in Berea with his wife and two kids. He previously taught Ceramics and sculpture at Alma College in Alma Michigan from 2015-2019.
He grew up in the small, rural town of Greene, Maine, spending time exploring the woods and rivers around his home. In 2008, he received a B.F.A. with a concentration in ceramics from the University of Southern
Maine. Between schooling, he maintained an active studio practice in Portland, Maine. In 2010, he worked as a summer staff member at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, in Newcastle, Maine. He completed an MFA in Ceramics and Sculpture in 2015 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA.
Ben has presented workshops at institutions including Oxbow School of Art in Saugatuck, MI, the 2018 Michigan Mud Ceramics Conference, and Westminster College, S.L.C. UT. He has assisted artists during workshops at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, and most recently at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft in Gatlinburg, TN. He was also an Artist-in-residence in the second annual Arrowmont Pentaculum. He exhibits his work locally and nationally, and his work has been selected for notable exhibitions such as the “Zanesville Prize” and “Clay Matters”, as well as other national juried exhibitions