Yarrott Benz

BLUE LARIAT

BLUE LARIAT

Work Details

BLUE LARIAT

2024

Acrylic on wood

46 X 16 X 4

Inventory ID: # 17184





    About Yarrott Benz

    Artist Statement - Yarrott Benz - May, 2024

    At the time I completed an MFA in sculpture in 1980 the artists who were making me salivate were modernists like Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Isamu Noguchi, and Louise Nevelson. Studying the esoteric language of modern poetry also kept me diving further into abstraction. The exquisitely veiled metaphors of Adrienne Rich and Robert Lowell ranked alongside the giant, all-enveloping paintings of Rothko and Kelly as my earliest creative inspirations. In the many decades since, despite experiencing the works of thousands of other artists and practicing in several disparate fields in the visual arts, including teaching and writing, my preferred visual vocabulary today still dates from that time— when I came of age. Mid-twentieth century abstraction rooted fast in me, permanent and unshakable, like the imprinting of a mother on a baby. When I look back, I’m astonished how absolute and fixed those influences have been.

    The following year after graduate school I worked as an assistant to sculptor Beverly Pepper at her studio in Italy. The experience left influences I can sometimes see in my own work even now. The brazen verticality of her standing pieces, the mystique of her surfaces, and the energy inside her negative spaces all echo in mine today. That particular period as a young man in Italy was my gateway to a lifelong adventure in modern European art and culture, and while more than four decades have passed, the exhilaration of that time has not faded one bit. Sometimes I forget that I am not still twenty-five.

    As my life has evolved, I’ve become particularly moved by history, my family’s and my own, the truth of it, and the pain and the beauty of it. I’ve let some of that penetrate the sculptures now at Chiaroscuro. The group I call Keadyville, with its palette of cobalt blue and aubergine, is inspired by the 19th century Irish roots of my great grandfather, a doctor in Kentucky, and his strange friendships with actual Shakers, some of whom were his patients. In this new work I make something physical from almost nothing, using scraps and pieces of discarded, milled wood as I find it, juxtaposing the parts to fashion whole new entities and meanings, and allowing unknown histories to quietly speak for themselves.

    All Works by Yarrott Benz

    BLUE LARIAT

    BLUE LARIAT

    2024

    Acrylic on wood

    46 X 16 X 4

    Inventory ID: # 17184