Hartwick Welcomes Environmental Ceramic Artist for Lecture

October 7, 2010

Environmental Ceramic Artist Jess Benjamin will offer a lecture titled "Paradox of Value" as part of Hartwick College's celebration of National Sustainability Day at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20 in Anderson Center for the Arts Theatre on the College campus. It is free and open to the public.

Ceramist Benjamin's current work presents complex objects inspired by water usage in her native western Nebraska. Her artwork has been reviewed in such publications as 500 Ceramic Sculptures, Ceramics Monthly, NY Arts Magazine, Nebraska Life, and the Omaha World Herald.

"As an artist, I am a problem-solver," she said. "I am interested in finding solutions to the problems of the world I live in. My artwork focuses on water usages in the Great Plains area. I was born and raised on a farm and ranch in rural Nebraska and still feel a profound responsibility toward the land. The objects that I create are inspired by my research on Kingsley Dam at Lake McConaughy in Ogallala, Nebraska. I also study the Ogallala Aquifer, which lies below eight states in the Midwest region.

"Through my research on water, I have discovered many theoretical similarities between the underlying structures of jackstones, water and ethanol molecules, and seed-starting planters," she continued. "All relate to a basic geometrical form: the tetrahedron, a type of pyramid. Each of my sculptures develops this concept. By utilizing historical and present-day symbols of strength, I am able to search for relations and tensions between man-made objects, chemistry, economics, mathematics, and my own imagination."

Benjamin also has been profiled on Nebraska Public Television's award-winning Statewide series as well as on HGTV's That's Clever. Her solo show, Jess Benjamin: Ceramics, ran at the Museum of Nebraska Art in 2006.

In 2009, she was awarded a show at The Nebraska Arts Council in the Fred Simon Gallery. In 2010 she won the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for Best 3-D Artist in 2009. She received her MFA under John Balistreri at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and has worked as a studio assistant to Omaha artist Jun Kaneko.

The lecture is sponsored by Hartwick's 2010-11 Academic Theme, Consumption, and the Hartwick Clay Club and Department of Art and Art History. For additional information, contact Assistant Professor of Art Stephanie Rozene at 607-431-4833 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030