Ben Peterson

Artist Statement

  • The studio serves as a nexus for catharsis, experimentation, and play. Using clay, ceramic, foam, wire, wood, fabric, and paint, I build sculptures and installations that serve as props and sets for performances. These activities are developed and documented through photography and video, exploring the intersections of sculpture, performance, and digital technology. Following this process, I edit the archive of images and objects into finished sculptures, photographs, videos, and short films.
  • Conceptually, clay and ceramic objects often reflect a purposeful restraint of the scatological nature of the material, projecting conservative values onto the materials and objects themselves. These objects function as “good aesthetic citizens,” representing status quo tastes of austerity, elegance, and purity. In this sense, the mass cultural production of objects polices our homes and architecture, constructing institutions and environments that repress self-expression, individuality, ugliness, and the impure.
  • My conceptual process deploys criticality and humor to ameliorate negative memories of bullying, anxiety, self-loathing, and conflicted identities through a cheerful degeneracy of masculine tropes. I grew up in a conservative small harbor town on Lake Michigan. By making artwork that associates clay and the ceramic with sensuality, sexuality, and transgression, I am building a nuanced critique of a eld of institutionalized tastes – pushing back against cultural and aesthetics values that I find representative of oppression.