BY H.L. Parker
“I’m All In” is a nicely ambiguous phrase. Who are we talking about here, the artist or the viewer? Am I tired? Am I gambling? Am I through the looking glass? Opening reception today (January 5) for “I’m All In: New Works by Ben Watkins” at the AS220 Project Space on Mathewson Street. The figures in his works range from natural organic shapes (antlers, eggs, hands) to croquet wickets to this precise architectural silhouette that suggests an algebraic function. Mr. Watkins describes his process:
I use raw materials, such as wood, metal, and plaster, because they have such great potential. They are blank slates ready for manipulation. Surface preparation is one of my great joys. I love to wet-sand and make a surface so pristine that your eye floats into it. The subjects I tend to discuss with my work are ones of great simplicity, and the concentrated work I do to prepare the materials and the surface allow me to focus on what is vital in those elements and how to express the fluidity and beauty of those raw materials. The world is a complicated place. I want to create something quiet and simple, a piece where the viewer, in concentrating on the line and arc and surface, becomes aware of what is essential to the materials themselves. If that then leads to them to ponder larger questions about time and meaning, so much the better.
Seen here: Putting on an Addition, 10″ x 15″, hydrocal plaster.
Reception 4pm to 7pm, Saturday, January 5, AS220 Project Space, 95 Mathewson Street