Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teapots: An Invitational - Ben Bates Libertyville, IL

Ben Bates Teapot $175
soda fired porcelain (8" x 8" x 7")

I am interested in the functional format as a realm of exploration, but I strive for my pieces to transcend their utilitarian boundaries and function as sculptural elements.  I use the ideals of the vessel to clarify design and explore form as it relates to space.  To me working in clay is more about composition, proportion and surface than it is about efficiency of use.

The dualities of this medium continually fascinate me.  In my process I play with the plasticity of the material and its ability to capture spontaneous movement in form and surface.  I then contrast it by introducing hard edges and lines that interrupt and accentuate the flow of that softness.  I also want to skin of my pieces to heighten the viewer's awareness of the interior volume and function as a canvas for color and decoration. 

My hope is to make pieces that are able to communicate feelings and ideas without recalling specific objects.  I intend for these compositions to be mysterious and open-ended enough to evoke multiple interpretations.

Ben Bates, a resident of Libertyville, IL, was born and raised in Southern California, earned his BFA at Kansas City Art Institute (1995) and his MFA at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2000).  After graduate school Ben established himself as the head Resident Ceramic Artist at Crabtree Farm - a living museum in Lake Bluff Illinois (1998 - 2003).  He was also the Lead Consultant for the construction of the Sterling Hall Ceramics Center (1999-2001) and Art Department Chair at Woodlands Academy (2003 - 2005) both in Lake Forest, IL.  His work has been featured in Feats of Clay, NCECA Clay National, Strictly Functional, 30 x 5 Akar Gallery, History in the Making II and III, Lilllstreet International, American Studio Ceramics, George Ohr Challenge, Platters and Pourers, Linearity and a solo show Featured Artist at AKAR gallery.  Ben was Personal Studio Assistant to Ken Ferguson (1993 - 1995) and to Ruth Duckworth (2004).  He is currently a Ceramics Studio Artist, Ceramics Instructor and Ceramics Studio Technician at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL.

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