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Ben Brown

Ben Brown is a ceramic artist and sculptor from Lawrence, Kansas. His work reflects a lifelong obsession with cartoons and science fiction design which informs his functional, wheel-thrown work.

In the early years of college, a focus on technique and form led to repeated experiments in materials with mixed results. A part-time job for the ceramics department created an opportunity to focus more time on the technical aspect of the studio art field. After transferring to a new college, Ben took a break from all ceramic art and worked in sculpture and, for the first time, drawing.

This shift to two-dimensional work bled over into the ceramic work when he returned to ceramics. The interest in mid-20th century science fiction grows from the influence of that design on the pop culture of the 80s and 90s. The study of art history has had a major influence on the surface designs of all of the work in the multiple Robot Series. This can be seen in the religious satirizing work in the Robo Religion works. This series reflects the atheism of the artist and the disillusionment of modern society with the promise of the mid-century modern. Later series such as Death Bots and Pop Bots are developments of the earlier works in the Robo Religion series and the Trash Bot series.

In the most recent work, the focus has shifted from cultural commentary to personal reflection and attachment to each figure. While not widely shown, the Robot series is often well-received but not taken as much more than “cute”. Two works commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the burning of Lawrence are the outliers in the collection. Each depicts a stylized retelling of the attack on the people of Lawrence by pro slavery forces in 1863. Both pieces have art historical references and current political messages as a reflection on what the event did to create the modern identity of the area.  Current works-in-progress are more series of robots that are commentary on modern culture and reactions to the events that have the most impact on the artist.

BFA in Ceramics and Sculpture, ESU, Minor in Art History