Jean Behnke

Sculpture More Like Thoughts
Thu Jul 2, 1992 - Sun Aug 9, 1992

Artist Statment

This installation includes work made from salvaged materials found in my current surroundings which are rural and textured. Most of the already made objects in the show have been altered by taking clues from what they already are. Our rich crop of cultural throw-away gives me the opportunity to select “things” and alter them with my own agenda. The “things” are really very humorous on their own and the arrangement can reinforce this. In the whole process of artmaking, the projects I respond most to make me laugh – if this is not present in my work it can be unresolvable. Part of the humor present in the already-made object comes from their awkwardness that reflects our own awkwardness which we arrive with at different points on our own plodding evolution. I think some funny residual objects sit in second-hand stores and thwart the abilities of the goal-oriented thinking that made them. I love these overstated, pragmatic objects that sit piled on dusty shelves that decades ago said “We know what we are doing.” To me this is like a kind of thrift store archeology.

The use of one material with another sometimes can begin with the proximity of the piles of material to each other in the studio. Material, impulses, “things” need fermenting time to pair up with each other, align or influence. Sometimes this process takes an unpredictable amount of time that lasts years and belongs to what my gardener friend calls a more “watery existence” where the need to know is not a drive but an arrival. Objects presented in this installation fit together in a kinship of shape or simply fit because they were meant to. When the work is able to carry a hybrid of forms it finds a resolution and authenticates itself. I see hybridization occurring continually in our immediate experience giving us delightful and mistaken combinations of shapes, events and words. I get a heightened sense of “things” from this awareness.

I have liked the idea of a gallery as laboratory where parts co-exist in a totality. Also, I like the thought that art can be experienced as elements in an on-going and open-ended dialogue that does not require explanation or demand meaning. In this, the suspension of product as meaning for process as meaning allows for whatever else is present. Physically, the “1 1/4 C. Angel Halo Scrapings” group of work offers an introduction to this installation. It also served as a beginning point when I approached this body of work. In the process the plastic measuring cup offered me a humorous departure point to further investment in its simple paradox.