here: Sculpture by Keith Benjamin
DateJune 14 - Aug 31, 2002
VenueWeston Art Gallery
Two new exhibitions open the summer season at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery: Cincinnati Modern: Art & Design at Mid-Century, a fascinating historical survey of the period from 1939 to 1960 when Cincinnati actively engaged a modern aesthetic; and here, a sculpture installation by Cincinnati artist Keith Benjamin that transforms mundane materials into imaginative and contemplative sculptures.
Keith Benjamin, of Cincinnati, has for many years found creative ways to transform everyday consumable items into inventive and imaginative sculptures. Benjamin’s work is an ongoing response to his immediate environment and life as a suburban homeowner and father. Selecting from an abundance of readily available and mundane materials such as newspapers, brown paper grocery bags, plastic soda bottles and cardboard beverage containers that continuously flow into his household, the artist converts these ordinary disposable items into extraordinary objects of contemplation symbolizing everyday human desires.
For his exhibition, here, Benjamin has created works both large- and small-scale, that engage the unique architectural qualities and public setting of the Weston Art Gallery’s street-level exhibition space. The title of the exhibition also suggests a larger meaning addressing the multiple associations related to space and location.
Two prominent works featured in the exhibition effectively demonstrate the artist’s inventive use of materials and his ability to convey ideas in drastically different scales. Tan Pants, an imposing 11 foot tall pair of pants constructed entirely from brown paper grocery bags and masking tape contrasts with Outlook – a found paper coffee cup upon which sits a large cookie created from recycled newspaper pulp and two small benches painstakingly constructed from cut-up cereal boxes. Outlook stands only slightly taller than six inches. Deceptively simple, Benjamin’s evocative works subtly convey his observations on consumption and the daily conflicts that blur the distinctions between need and desire, responsibility and leisure.
Keith Benjamin received his BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1989 and his MFA from the University of Illinois in 1993. In 1998 he founded Warsaw Project, an alternative exhibition space in Price Hill. He currently serves as an instructor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. His work has been exhibited both locally and regionally and is represented in numerous private and public collections.