Artist Spotlight: Ben Buswell

Join SOU Senior Tyler Noland for an introduction to the work of Ben Buswell one the artists in the Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts exhibition ‘What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts’. This exibition will be on view on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website during the Winter of 2021.

There is something to be said about liminal spaces or concepts which is often overlooked. The artwork of 2015 Hallie Ford Fellow Ben Buswell opens up that conversation and challenges viewers to reinterpret that which is normally understood differently. An Oregon native, Buswell is an artist and educator whose sculptural work is in multiple mediums including but not limited to photography, metals, and ceramics. Buswell is one of the thirteen artists featured in the Schneider’s virtual winter exhibition What Needs to be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts, as well as participating in the Creative Industries Discussion series currently held via zoom.

His work featured in the winter exhibition All At Once, is a series of seventy-six framed sculptural photographs. Although Buswell has been known to use a variety of mediums in his sculptural work, these pieces utilize his method of manipulating the surface of prints. All At Once uses photographs of obsidian taken at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Utilizing his self made carving tool, Buswell manipulates the pre existing patterns of natural light followed in these images to enhance what a viewer would already see. His artwork becomes experiential like that of sculpture in this way, creating surfaces that depend on the interaction of viewer’s engagement. In his work, he carves the surfaces of images in such a unique way that the finished product is sometimes indistinguishable as a photograph. Working with extreme diligence and detail, the tiny and meticulous marks build to a complex final product which asks viewers to consider light and space in new and innovative ways.

Buswell’s artistic practice is based around ideas of perception. Using the recognizable as an access point before changing it. He is most well known for his unexpected take on photographs, as demonstrated through this exhibition, and this unique work in carving and light is at the core of many of his pieces. He enhances perspective, and challenges the notion of surface. He gets at greater questions about transitioning one thing to another, utilizing images of the natural world to keep access to the familiar.

Buswell is the first artist featured in the winter exhibition’s creative industries discussion series, speaking on Thursday January 28th, 2021 at 12:30pm PST. The creative industries discussions give further insight to the artist’s work and practice, as well as providing an opportunity for community questions. This series is now being held via zoom due to COVID-19 safety and restrictions.

The Winter Exhibition What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts will be available to view virtually on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website until March 6, 2021.

Tyler Noland is a senior Creative Writing major at Southern Oregon University. She is originally from the Bay Area, and this is her third year at the Schneider Museum of Art. While not working on her writing she enjoys making collages with vintage magazines.