Ben R. Anderson 2014

Beginning in the early 1980's I was in the process of making large-scale wood sculpture and installations.  Up to this time I had never considered clay as a sculptural material.  I was aware of traditional Portuguese crab and lobster plates, which were for sale in Providence, RI.   I thought these were wonderful images, a single crustacean mounted on a plate with various sea elements.   I began researching museum art collections for historic ceramic works including 15th century French artist Bernard Palissy.

This led me to create a plaster mold of a freshly caught fish, not unlike the Japanese fish printing process where the animal is rolled onto Kozo paper.   In 1988 I made my first ceramic sculpture from a Bluefish incorporating this process.  I was soon making molds from a variety of natural objects, experimenting with color and glazing techniques to achieve naturalistic effects.  I began building a library of molds taken from nature, using the objects to open up possibilities of expressing ideas.  These ideas include narratives and counter points to abstraction.

Handling the clay, creating forms with my hands, and carving the clay are activities I enjoy. It is important for me to touch the clay in all its stages, while wet, while leather hard and while dry.  In the end, what I've found in the clay and the color achieved through glaze is an ability to create a small, but highly charged object.

In Rhode Island to Ravenna the graphic print is introduced as a bold pattern in combination with the ceramics.  These fundamental patterns can be found in many cultures, and are used for organizing ideas, architecture, and science.  Patterns can be beautiful.  To make order or to create understanding, humans often put things in form of grids and structures.  Artists are drawn to patterns, as they are ultimate expressions found in nature.  Humans want to be close to nature.  The pattern is the simplistic conduit or entry into this world. 


Ben R. Anderson    

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