The Lamar Dodd School of Art will present a lecture by artist Beth Cavener March 29 at 5:30 p.m. in Room S151 of the art school. This lecture is part of the Visiting Artist/Scholar Lecture Series. The talk is open free to the public. A highly acclaimed sculptor, Cavener explores the intersection of instincts and human emotion through animal figures sculpted from clay.
Cavener’s animals are frozen in the midst of conflicts between emotions and desires. Their eyes and postures are full of feeling and tension while also being captured within fired clay. The fluid forms of her figures are hand sculpted, their fur showing the gestural marks of Cavener’s technique. Many of the sculpted animals are life-size or larger, further reinforcing their sense of presence within the space of the viewer. Internal struggles of the sculpted animals are manifested in physical entanglements and gestures. Ropes, tree branches and other artifacts of the world detain, join, support or emanate from the animal forms. These elements along with a seamless integration of human anatomy and expression turn Cavener’s sculptures into vessels of empathy for the viewer.
The animals typically are divided into the archetypes of the victim, the bully and the manipulator. While this sets the tone and the choice of animal Cavener will use, the state of being of each character is often complicated and even contradictory. Cavener explains that these manifestational sculptures are drawn from both her own experiences as well as the experiences of those around her.