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Benton Jones has proven that fine art is alive and thriving by demonstrating there is innovative work left to be done and that art history is NOT simply repeating itself.
Upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in ’92 with a degree in sculpture, Jones then spent his apprenticeship at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Trenton, New Jersey, one of the largest art foundries in the world at that time.
It wasn’t until just after he moved to Brewster in ‘94, located on Cape Cod, that Jones’ fascination with metals became integrated with a newly found passion for glass, elevating object from the utilitarian to the ethereal level.
Materials are symbiotic in Jones’ work. It is impossible to determine whether the metal elements are more central to the glass or vice versa. The achieved harmony between unlike materials makes it hard to imagine the whole without the parts –just as we are vitally connected to our environment-glass and metal are integrated in Jones’ art.
The work serves as a substantiation of his life path and related philosophy, taking the form of individual “monuments” to his beliefs. In his Melting Hemispheres collection, Jones has used reclaimed glass floatation spheres, previously used in climate change research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, transforming them and extending their purposeful life by creating clear, ice-like, vessels which now serve to symbolize the destructive beauty unleashed by global warming.
At every opportunity, Jones draws our attention to the vulnerabilities within the human experience, as if to deflate a collective arrogance and feeling of entitlement. Summarizing his work, the artist often quotes Herman Hesse’s “definition” of man.
“Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form. He is much more an experiment and a transition. He is nothing else than the narrow and perilous bridge between nature and spirit. His innermost destiny drives him on to the spirit. His innermost longing draws him back to nature. Between the two forces his life hangs tremulous and irresolute. ‘Man,’ whatever people think of him, is never anything more than a temporary compromise.”
Artwork by Benton Jones was featured at the Sandwich Glass Museum in 2006, and in 2012 he will show at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA. His sculpture is collected worldwide, including by the renowned musician Eric Clapton. He has recently become an instructor, teaching a six week course in kiln-forming glass for NC State University at their Prague Campus.
Video of me setting up the course at Prague Institute