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Art with Intimate Histories is Focus of Exhibition by Juniata Ceramics Professor

(Posted April 2, 2012)

Bethany Benson, assistant professor of art, will exhibit "Cup" and other ceramic work under the theme, "Intimate Interactions," on exhibit from April 12 through Sept. 8. at the Juniata Museum of Art

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- In a time when technology allows people to skip the trip to the museum and just look at art online, one Juniata faculty member is trying to reverse the trend. Bethany Benson, assistant professor of art, will exhibit her ceramic work under the theme, "Intimate Interactions," on exhibit from April 12 through Sept. 8.

The exhibit will have an opening reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday April 12 in the Juniata College Museum of Art. The reception is free and open to the public. Located in historic Carnegie Hall, the museum is on the corner of 17th and Moore streets in Huntingdon.

Benson is committed to her exhibit's theme and hopes her work will offset technology's effects on how people experience art. On her website, Benson explains her work, "I create utilitarian work to be used in social contexts; my pieces are not fully realized until they are completed by the viewer through use: I encourage people to respond to the design, tactility, and ultimately the environment that engages all five senses while using my work, forcing the revival of true interaction."

From cups to urns, Benson has a reason and a motive behind each of the pieces she made specifically for this exhibit. Cups, her most-exhibited art form, force interaction and engage multiple senses, harmonizing with her exhibit's theme.

Her other pieces, however, have different purposes."[I chose] urns because I have had three close family members die in the past year and a half, and have made the final resting place for two of them," she says.

"I create utilitarian work to be used in social contexts; my pieces are not fully realized until they are completed by the viewer through use."
Bethany Benson, assistant professor of art

Two years ago, Benson was scheduled to have an exhibit but had to cancel to support her mother while she recovered from a major surgery.

Before coming to Juniata in 2007 as assistant professor of art, Benson taught both an introductory and advanced ceramics courses at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. She worked as a resident artist for Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in New Castle, Maine.

She earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 2000 from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, in Dartmouth, Mass. She went on to study at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and earned a master's degree in fine arts in 2007 from Southern Illinois University.

She has exhibited her work at various galleries and museums around the country, including the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center in Louisville, Ky. Yeiser Art Cebter in Paducah, Ky., Market House Craft Center in East Petersburg, Pa., Kent State University Museum in Kent, Ohio, and Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in Jingdezhen, China.

Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please call the museum at (814) 641-3505, or visit the Juniata College Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/museum.

Written by Ellen Santa Maria '12

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.