The artist with his twin boys - excellent kiln assistants.

Maestro - the ultimate gallery & studio dog was with Ben for 14 years until his wood firing in Fall 2015. We will miss you buddy!

BENJAMIN MAIER- artist statement

Working in the studio gives meaning and rhythm to my life. As a potter I am interested in exploring the table as an installation environment. The table offers me a stage to showcase the theater of my work. Tremendous potential for exploration begins as the relationships between pots are examined. I make pottery holding functional qualities, plates, vases, cups or teapots, however, I challenge myself and my audience to look beyond function and use the medium to address artistic concepts including metaphor, perception, and human interaction. I continually question my relationship to pottery in daily life and how it has the potential to impact me and others. 

The table and pottery have the capability to increase awareness of human interaction and stimulate conversation on a level that is slowly being eroded by the diminished presence of the table in our daily lives. Through my work,  I am curious to examine the important role and presence of the table in contemporary society.

My work is influenced by architecture and design that reflect qualities of efficient, quiet strength. Atmospheric firing enhances the linear quality of my work, while offering reflections of the natural world. A story is told by the kiln and recorded on the surfaces of pots in atmospheric firings, especially in wood fired kilns. As I examine my own work, I am curious about examining the tension of form achieved not only from negative space around the pot but also by the expanse of volume from within a pot. Correspondingly, as the tension within the surface of a pot is engaged, another avenue for exploration is exposed through surface design and intense flashing . Artists such as Voulkos, Picasso, Brancussi and Matisse mastered these concepts in their work. I am intellectually engaged by these artists, and continually contemplating how they inform my work.

Through the engagement and creation of pottery, I strive to raise more questions about my life and existence rather than finding answers. I feel fortunate to have clay connect me to, and engage me in, the present moment of time.

 

EXHIBITIONS

2013 | Steelcase Employee Lounge. Totem Installation

2010 | Steelcase Showrooms | North America

2010 | Artstream | Land Based Exhibition, Studio Pottery, NCECA Conference | Philadephia, PA

2009 | Muddy's Wood Fire Classic | Santa Ana, CA

2009 | History in the Making IV | Genesse Center For the Arts | Rochester, NY

2009 | Steelcase Showrooms | Grand Rapids, MI | Washington D.C. | Chicago, IL | New York, NY

2009 | Peer Influence | ASU Museum of Fine Art | Phoenix, AZ

2009 | Watershed Invitational | Gustin Gallery | New Bedford, MA

2008 | Soda National IV | Clay Studio of Missoula, MT

2008 | Clay National | Bernidji Art Center | Bernidji, MN

2008 | Clay 3 | National Juried Clay Competition, Clay Space | Warrensville, IL

2008 | San Angelo National Clay Competition | San Angelo, TX Museum of Fine Art

2008 | Strictly Functional Pottery National | Market House Craft | Lancaster, PA

2007 | NCECA Group Exhibition | Beppu Gallery | Portland, OR

 

EXPERIENCE

2000 - Present |  Studio Artist | Own and operate full time studio in Traverse City, MI

2003 - Present | Gallery Owner | Exclusively promote and sell work at my gallery, Benjamin Maier Ceramics in Leland, MI

2011 - Steelcase Commission | Created vessel oriented body of work for Steelcase Global Headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI

2008 | Rebuilt Soda Kiln | Assisted master kiln builder Donovan Palmquist in building energy efficient gas kiln.

2008 | Wood Kiln | Built Anagama style wood kiln at studio in Traverse City, MI

2006 | Constructed Soda Kiln & Studio | Traverse City, MI

 

EDUCATION

2010 | Art Stream Nomadic Gallery | Exhibited Artist on 2010 Spring Tour

2010 | Wood Firing at Anderson Ranch | Experimental reduction cooling | Anderson Ranch Arts Center | Snowmass, CO

2007 | Wood Firing at Anderson Ranch | Experimental reduction cooling | Anderson Ranch Arts Center | Snowmass, CO

2006-2008 | Studio Intensive | Finding a potter's voice. Alleghany Meadows, Peg Malloy, Josh Deweese & Doug Casebeer | Anderson Ranch Arts Center | Snowmass, CO

2003-2006 | Wood Firing | Helped load and fire Chris Gustin's wood kiln | New Bedford, MA

2003-2006 | Studio Residency | Ceramics. Anderson Ranch Arts Center | Snowmass, CO

2003 | Michigan State University | Special Student Ceramics, Foundations | Lansing, MI

2002-2006 | Workshop | Wood Fired Ceramics: Inspiration and Form with Chris Gustin, Doug Casebeer | Good Hope, Jamaica

2001 | Bates College | Lewiston, ME | B.A. Political Science & Economics

1999 | Denmark International Study Program | Copenhagen, Denmark

MaierCeramicsSignature.jpg