Human: the art of Beth Cavener
The Benyamini Library has a vast and up-to-date array of very fine publications, whether on individual important international artists and international shows or other related subjects. But once in a while a very special edition lands on our table, and this is the case with the outstanding new book "Human: the art of Beth Cavener".
The book is uncompromisingly special first of all in presenting a retrospective ad hoc of this unique ceramic artist, and in the wonderful editorial work and print level of the book itself, a project by Garth Clark in conjunction with Ezra Shales, both among the foremost theoreticians in the ceramic field. Clark is a big admirer of Cavener's unique work.
Cavener's style is immediately recognizable as unique to her: she takes the animal figure to a new and totally personal place and imbues each with deeply felt and observed human characteristics, emerging often from personal traumatic experiences and encounters. Cavener says that she "turns people into caricatures", a strategy she developed from childhood to fight her fears; she makes portraits of people she observes, distilling their innermost feelings and finding a way to transfer them into the animal sculpture's expressive movements, facial expressions and subtly added human physical details, and the situations she places them in. The sculptures are also emotional "self-portraits". Cavener works a long time on each sculpture, which are often very big and complicated, often exploring one particular emotion over a few sculptures. Her way of working the surface is very expressive, giving the impression as if sculpted by big brushstrokes. This makes her human animals very expressive, seductive, sly, perturbed, and contorted. There is perfect craftsmanship. Cavener's work draws from no one, it is totally unique, and this volume honors her duly.
This newest book on the market presents us with a new category of the "potter", adapted to our age and the demands of the market. It talks of a new definition, the "ceramic designer" who is also a craftsman and a designer. The creators presented in the book come from different design disciplines but all seek to realize their project in ceramics. Their creations range from design objects to architectural murals, furniture items and more, and the big array is definitely broadening what we call ceramics today.