Elegant and graceful, Curtis Benzle’s sculptures gently echo the natural world. Functioning as an experience of nature rather than a reproduction of it, his work pares down landscape to its essence. In Benzle’s words, he hopes to reveal “the emotional content of a moment instead of a specific visual representation.” With rich color and layered patterning, he unites inner with outer, light with shadow, and simplicity with complexity
Benzle’s desire is to construct objects that are emotionally positive and beautiful. Strangely enough, that goal is a bit dangerous. While society may find value in objects deemed beautiful, the art world can be dismissive. Yet, it remains at the heart of Benzle’s aesthetic drive. His desire is “to give form to feeling.” Through pattern, color, and light, he taps into what he deems “fundamental life forces.” By their very nature, such forces have in them an element of beauty.
Curtis Benzle does not articulate an elaborate Kantian theory of the beautiful and sublime. Nor does he make a transcendental stance regarding nature. He does not couch his work singularly in Zen philosophy and aesthetics. Yet, his art – as a surrogate and vehicle of experience – resonates with such ideas.
Curtis Benzle received his B.F.A. from the Ohio State University in 1972 and his MA from Northern Illinois University in 1978. He is Professor Emeritus at the Columbus College of Art and Design (Columbus, OH), while maintaining his studio in Huntsville. Curtis Benzle is represented in major museums and collections around the world, including the Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the White House Collection. His signature works are translucent, porcelain sculptural vessels.
(Excerpted from an article by Chris Yates for “Clay Art International”)