Plaster, ink, cement
“Pox is the most recent piece in a series of work that derive from a simple clay self-portrait done in my early 20s as a graduate student. A simple study. A mold was made and stored for many years. It was resurrected in my early 40s, during a time of personal struggle and pain. Castings in plaster were smashed and repaired. It became a broken vessel spilling forth a torrent of anguish and pain. It was repeatedly damaged and reassembled, repaired but never made quite whole.
“Pox was done in the fall of 2019 in my early 50s and a few short months prior to the introduction of COVID 19 into the common lexicon. What had started as an introspective reflection on my own struggles with mental illness has come to be expressive of a collective experience; an inward gaze on personal pain and struggle turned outward in empathetic witness to collective pain and struggle.
“Sir Christopher Ricks, in speaking of the lyrics of Bob Dylan, said that ‘art gives sympathetic access to systems of belief that are not our own.’ On a more intimate level, it can give sympathetic access to experiences that are not our own. And should we be fortunate, it can give sympathetic access to experiences that are our own. It can reveal ourselves to ourselves and in turn come to see ourselves in others.”
—Benjamin Cariens, Associate Professor of Art