The museum is pleased to introduce the work of Bethany Benson, who came to Juniata in 2007 as assistant professor of art. Discovering as a child that working with clay came naturally to her, Benson has long been inspired by the capability of the material, which in her hands assumes fluid and elegant forms. Benson thinks of her ceramics as three- dimensional canvases on which she makes designs meant to accentuate the form. It is not just the eye, but all the senses, Benson says, that she wants to engage, and thus her fascination with cups, which can engage the senses of sight, touch, taste, and smell. With senses stirred in this way, Benson says, the user of the cup enters into an intimacy with its maker --"who has made the lip of that cup for your lip to fit on." It is Benson's deliberate intent, she says, to create the possibility of these intimate interactions--"my pieces are not fully realized until they are completed by the viewer through use"--in a world in which technology and virtual encounters can seem to take the place of real, human ones. Maker, object, and user joined, Benson hopes, can mean "the revival of true interaction."

Image: Bethany Benson, Cup, white stoneware, soda fired, 2010, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2". Image courtesy of artist.