Benjamin M DeMott
Full Time Visiting Artist, Ceramics (2012). BFA, 2004, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; MFA, 2008, New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, NY. Exhibitions: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Denver Art Museum; Ice Box (Grey Space), Philadelphia, PA; Meulensteen Gallery, New York, NY; Jane Hartsook Gallery, New York, NY; Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY. Publications: Ceramics Now, Artforum. Collections: Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT.
Statement of Philosophy and Professional Practice
I consider my studio discipline and that of my teaching practice emerging from and contributing to the same form as though they were ecologically symbiotic. Questions, encounters, and challenges in each permeate and encourage one another. How do we as people, artists, and members of a community fully engage the consequence of our shared experience? How do we most affectively/effectively reveal the possibilities of a fuller perception and cultural expression? I believe the holistic practice of an artist educator is an ideal platform for such a comprehensive inquiry.
Inspiring students to critically engage the relevance of their expression and the broader context in which they participate is my objective. Therein, it is my responsibility as an educator to be receptive to what each student carries with them in their convergent moment of learning. My aim is fostering the conditions suited for revelation, where faculties of vulnerability, risk, and intuition are primary guides. My ability to effectively engage these relative faculties in each student requires a compassionate awareness and sensitivity. A student's exploration into an unseen possibility and the expansion of their horizons relies on mutual exchange, generous listening, and an attentive presence. Praise of unmediated misstep, slippage, and not needing "the answer" dismantle the barriers that inhibit an urgent substantive creation. The position of the instructor is not fixed in tone, theory, or practice, but it shifts accordingly to the needs of the student; each within their relative course of discovery.
Concurrently, students provide for me a greater contemplative challenge in re-evaluating the claims that ground my own understanding. Such a reflection is invaluable in my dialogue with materiality, as a playful pilgrimage into situations of uncertainty. My studio research fusses my interests of phenomenology, topics of craft, the history of ceramics in material culture, and issues in contemporary art. I articulate these multifarious matters through various combine approaches, from sculptural installation to discrete object making; drawing, to photography, etc. My practice as an artist educator is in the carving of perception, one affording equally symmetrical access to the influences of the world writ large while simultaneously inviting the immense capacity of our imaginations to belong in it.
Drawing, assemblage, and vernacular ceramic traditions coalesce through material thinking and kinesthetic wonder. Concerned with the agency of materials, interest in phenomenology, and the performance of making in an expanded field of cultural production.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Ben enjoys fly fishing, terracotta, gluten, and haikus about all of the above:
slackjawed and thigh deep knotting
flys in the back cast
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.