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Behind the Artwork: de Saisset Explores Sculptor's Studio
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 16, 2013— The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University explores the work of world-renowned kinetic and constructivist sculptor Fletcher Benton through two exhibitions: Fletcher Benton: The Artist’s Studio and Fletcher Benton: In Motion. Both shows are on view from Aug. 16 to Dec. 6, 2013.
Fletcher Benton: The Artist’s Studio, a traveling exhibition from the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, looks at the inspirations, processes, toys, and tools that the artist uses to create his work. Conceived by Benton himself, The Artist’s Studio provides a rare opportunity to see the studio—a typically private space—through the artist’s eyes.
Using a combination of maquettes, studies, unfinished works, and completed monumental sculptures, the exhibition traces Benton’s process from start to finish, highlighting each step from conception to execution. The sculptural works are juxtaposed with large-scale photographs of Benton’s creative environment and enhanced with a soundtrack and a replica of his work table, complete with a video of welding sparks underneath. Together, these components create an immersive experience that transports the viewer from the gallery to the studio.
Benton’s workspace is an extension and reflection of his aesthetic philosophy. By inviting the viewer into that space, the exhibition provides profound insight into the artistic practice of one of the most important American sculptors of the 20th century.
Programmed in conjunction with The Artist’s Studio, Fletcher Benton: In Motion highlights some of Benton’s early, and most well-known, kinetic works. Drawing from the collections of the de Saisset Museum and the Fletcher Benton Studio, In Motion features a selection of kinetic pieces, made during the 1960s and 1970s. The objects included in this small-scale kinetic retrospective represent multiple directions of exploration for Benton.
Each sculpture incorporates motion, but they do so in varying ways. In some works, the kinetic movement follows a clearly discernible arrangement; in others the pattern of motion is so complex it appears random; in one the change over time is so slow it is almost imperceptible. Regardless of how the works transform, they share the same visual language and aesthetic principles that continue to characterize Benton's work today. As such, they not only mark an important creative direction in the artist's portfolio, but also lay the foundation for the pieces on view in The Artist’s Studio.
The museum celebrates the opening of Fletcher Benton: The Artist’s Studio and Fletcher Benton: In Motion on Thursday, Sept. 26. Beginning at 6 p.m. Lindsey Kouvaris, curator of exhibits and collections at the de Saisset Museum, will lead an exclusive walkthrough of the exhibition for museum members and invited guests. A free, public reception will take place on the same evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. the de Saisset Museum will host a Q&A with Fletcher Benton focused on the exhibitions and his studio practice. The program is free and open to the public.
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