2022 FOCUS Gallery | Material Empathy

September 20th – October 22th

 Material Empathy brings together the work of ceramicist Ingrid Bathe, papermaker Hannah O’Hare Bennett, and woodworker Keun Ho Peter Park. This exhibition celebrates the deep, empathetic relationships that form between maker, material, and finished object. 

Keun Ho Peter Park

Ingrid Bathe makes handbuilt, functional porcelain pottery with a sensitive touch. The delicate appearance and fingerprint-dimpled surfaces of her pieces encourage a heightened sense of awareness. 

Thoughtfulness is evident in the way I handle clay and necessary when viewing or handling my work. I skillfully employ basic, traditional methods of hand-building to emphasize the scope of possibility within the medium. I adjust the clay ingredients and paper content to best suit the forms that I am working on. The paper fiber is added to increase green strength without compromising the final piece. The methods I employ while constructing are integral to the final presentation of the work. I want the process of creation to be visible to the viewer: when two pieces of clay are joined together I leave a seam line, and each pinched mark is left intact so when looked at closely my fingerprints can be seen. By making objects out of a fragile and precious material, I expect the delicate nature of the work to provoke a heightened awareness and sensitivity on the part of the viewer.

My aesthetic combines the European decor I was surrounded by growing up and my love for where I live now – simple, thoughtful, clean, elegant, frugal. The lifestyle I maintain in Maine is conducive to my art making. We are surrounded by farmed fields, preserved natural areas, and revered coastlines. The tempo of the long quiet winters and the radiant quick moving summers creates a balance that complements my temperament and my artwork. – Ingrid Bathe

Ingrid Bathe
Ingrid Bathe

Keun Ho Peter Park creates anthropomorphic, hand-carved wooden centerpieces, bowls, and trays. Inspired equally by nature, the human body, and the natural properties of wood, Park’s forms combine elegant functionality with a touch of animated whimsy.

The beauty of the human body and the characteristic forms of various living creatures always inspire me. It naturally leads me to take an interest in organic shapes and to create anthropomorphic forms. I love to explore innovative ways of creating objects based on this motif in various formats. I also explore the sensory experience and sculptural qualities derived from a functional object made out of wood. – Keun Ho Peter Park

Keun Ho Peter Park
Keun Ho Peter Park

Hannah O’Hare Bennett uses natural pigments and layers and layers of handmade paper to create very thin, very light wall pieces. Her work is influenced by the plants and rural landscape from her past as an organic farmer. 

Before I dared to call myself an artist, I worked as an organic farmer. That previous work informs almost every aspect of my current studio practice. Then, I dealt with the materiality of soil and water, and plants. Now, I apply my relentless work ethic to unearthing the possibilities of other materials, especially paper pulp, threads, fabric, and found objects. I tend to my installations and sculptural objects like a garden, shifting things, removing things, adding or subtracting colors and shapes in pursuit of a completed piece. The concept of my work, supported by rigorous study and research, almost always involves human relationship to the landscape and nature, which is what agriculture is.  

Just as in farming, my art practice is seasonal.  In warmer months, I work primarily with handmade paper.  As it grows colder, I move inside and work with embroidery and soft sculpture.  This is driven by the physical limitations of my studio situation, but it also makes sense to me conceptually.  The intellectual underpinnings of my work are so bound to the natural cycle of the earth, why should my practice not have a cycle as well? – Hannah O’Hare Bennett 

Hannah O’Hare Bennett

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