Curtis Benzle

Artist's Statement

The primary purpose of my art is to embrace the illusive, emotional content of traditional beauty.  Form, color, pattern and light are the bones of this pursuit but, in the end, the driving issue comes down to my desire to convey the poetry of a quiet moment—to create a visual sanctuary.

My personal body of work represents a singular aesthetic ideal embedded in two seemingly different types of objects.  The vessels grow from a tradition of refinement and intimacy historically represented by the fine porcelains of Western Europe and Asia while the lighting is more contemporary in its consideration of the conceptual impact an object has on an occupied, “living” space.

These differences run the risk of creating “category confusion” for the viewer.  Categories are crossed (installation or object; sculpture or lighting) and viewers may be left to wonder—“what is this?”  This confusion is vexing, but unavoidable owing to my commitment to not compromise aesthetic complexity for ease of comprehension.

Both aspects of my work share more than they differ.  The following are some of the significant, common characteristics;

Pattern:   I am fascinated by the intricacy of overlapping patterns; the interactions of color and creating complexity from simplicity.

Form:  The significance of the form is subjugated to the primacy of the surface.  This being said, I am still fully engaged in creating a challenging balance between the physical presence of the three-dimensional object and an active surface.

Translucency:  These pieces all have a vital quality owing to their ability to respond to available light.  Patterns shift, colors change and appearance itself is in a state of perpetual flux.  The primary difference lies in the source of “available light”.  In the vessels the light source is less predictable while the lighting provides for greater viewer control.

Studio Production

While the work shown under “Studio Production” may share certain material and design characteristics with my vessels and lighting, there are very significant differences.

  • My “Studio Production” work is conceived and designed by me but oftentimes made by studio assistants.
  • The work labeled “Studio Production” is also designed to be affordable.  These objects are made as multiples.
  • “Studio Production” work is my attempt to provide well designed and made objects at a reasonable price.  Production work has, over the years, supported my family as well as my ability to create my more singular and personal sculpture and lighting artworks.
  • Fellowships and Residencies
  • National Endowment for the Arts—Fellowship
  • Alabama State Council on the Arts—Fellowship
  • Ohio Arts Council—Fellowship
  • Greater Columbus Art Council—Fellowship
  • Syracuse University—Residency
  • Seto(Japan) Center for Ceramics and Glass—Residency
  • Collections, selected
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
  • The National Collection of American Art/Smithsonian Institution
  • LA County Museum of ArtCleveland Museum of Art
  • The White Collection of Contemporary Crafts, Clinton Library
  • Museo Internazionale Delle Ceramiche, Faenze, Italy
  • Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Seto City Cultural Center, Seto, Japan
  • The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • The Crocker Museum of Art,   Sacramento, CA
  • The Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
  • American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona