GALLIPOLIS — The October exhibit in the Galleries at Riverby, home of the French Art Colony, features the work of the internationally renowned sculptor, Fletcher Benton.
A native of Jackson, Ohio, Benton was born in 1931 and, as a youth, was a successful sign painter. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he attended and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, earning his bachelor of fine arts degree in 1956.
His teaching career began in California, where he taught until 1986, including California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and San Francisco Art Institute and California State University in San Jose.
Starting in 1959, Benton did solo exhibitions, including the famous Gump Gallery in San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Dimensions Gallery in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Galeria Bonito in New York, Milwaukee Art Center, Galerie Francoise Mayer in Brussels, Belgium, and Galeria Bonino in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to name only a few.
Peter Seiz, a renowned author, scholar and art historian, wrote an outstanding description of Benton and his unique work.
“Fletcher Benton’s workplace is located in the light industry district of San Francisco. The busy 6,000-square-foot space is 23 feet high and can easily hold the forklift needed to assemble his large sculptures,” Seiz said. “It is filled with the noise of hammering, cutting and welding … work performed by Benton’s assistants. It is amidst all the commotion that, working on a small metal table, he makes his steel maquettes (unfinished sculptures). On a lucky day, intuition — Benton calls it ‘Magic Man’ — comes into play, and he will be able to finish a maquette, a process in which precision is guided by inspiration.
“Previous writers on Benton’s work have noted that it is marked by duality; palpable sculpture and illusionary painting, the slim and the blocky, the circle and the square, emotion and restraint,” Seiz continued. “In his finest recent work, Benton seems to have found harmonious resolution.”
Joseph Wright, executive director of the French Art Colony, said he is privileged to host Benton’s exhibit “through the generosity of the Lillian E. Jones Museum in Jackson” and its director, Megan Malone.
“The exhibit is on loan from their permanent Fletcher Benton collection and will be at Riverby through Nov. 7,” Wright said.
A public reception for the exhibit will be 3 p.m. Oct. 25. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Dr. Greg Miller will be the guest speaker at the reception and will talk about Fletcher Benton and his works.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Galleries are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Admission is always free to explore the French Art Colony’s galleries.