From October 28 to November 16, ceramicist Joni Maya Oye-Benintende is sharing her sculpture and pottery forms in a Romano Gallery exhibit titled “Recognition.” The artist uses fired and unfired clay, raku and sawdust firing processes, and found objects to create the works on display. These sculpture and pottery forms invite the viewer to regard the works as prompts to uncover memories, recognize images, and create their own stories and meditations.
“Contemplation is a central theme in my work—the process of creating, the objects placed within the forms or a combination,” said Ms. Oye-Benintende, who chairs the Art + Design department at Pennsylvania’s East Stroudsburg University (ESU). “Much of the imagery in the work comes from my Japanese ancestral background, and the five formative years I spent living and working there, but I find that people from many walks of life respond to them.”
Describing her pottery forms as “process meditations,” Ms. Oye-Benintende said that the coil method used in making them is circular, with the thinning and stretching of the clay walls created by a rhythm of motions that is at once calming and searching.
Meanwhile, the openings in the “Niche” wall series are like windows that display objects or images for contemplation. “These are inspired by the niches or reliquaries that one sees near Japanese temples and shrines, as well as the Japanese concept of the tokonoma, an alcove, usually near a home’s entrance, where a wall hanging or flower arrangement is displayed,” Ms. Oye-Benintende said.
A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (BFA) and Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan (MFA), Ms. Oye-Benintende teaches ceramics and drawing and serves as director of the Madelon Powers Art Gallery at ESU. She has exhibited her clay work in regional juried art shows and gallery exhibitions. An active member of the Pocono-area arts community for many years, she has co-directed the Pocono State Craft Festival and holiday art and craft shows, and she showcases local and regional artists at ESU.
Ms. Oye-Benintende joined the Blair community for an artist’s reception on November 7, beginning at 7 p.m. in The Romano Gallery.