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The Benefit
January 22, 2013

Benefit v.13 Featured Artists

About the Author
Erica Minutella

See the exhibition here
Meet four of the Benefit v.13 artists being featured this week: Randall Cleaver, Leah Reynolds, Matthew Olian, and Kennedy James.
Find new featured artists every week leading up to the Benefit on the InLiquid Facebook page.
Randall Cleaver
Can you give me a bit of background about yourself?
I have been a working artist for 25 years and have been using found objects for all of that time and making the found object clocks for 20 years.
Can you tell me about “Bowling Time”?
“Bowling time” is made from a cut off piece from a bowling ball. It is always interesting to see what is inside of one of those. They are an icon of American culture so it makes it a fun piece for people.
Why should people be encouraged to come to the Benefit?
Seeing art “live” cannot be beat! You miss details and just cannot get a sense of scale in even the best photos.
Leah Reynolds
Tell me a bit about youself.
I work primarily in installation, have done sets for Dance and Theatre. I have lived in Philadelphia since 1983 (I’m from DC). I have a BFA in printmaking (RISD) and MFA in sculpture (UPenn).
Tell me about “Bee Life”.
“Bee Life” was originally part of a larger installation shown at Nexus in 2011 titled “Bee Life or (Queen for a Day)”. It is made from fabric coated with rabbit skin glue and pigment and sewn together by hand.
Why should people be encouraged to come to the Benefit?
I know it is crucial to see my work in person because it is meant to be experienced in relation to one’s whole body. Lighting plays a part because the material is translucent. It should be walked around, looked inside, etc. I think this is true for any 3-D work.
Matthew Olian
Can you tell me about your work as an artist?
I work in the medium of glass, currently utilizing the process of lampworking as a means to express my artistic vision. I find the intimate, one-on-one nature of lampworking to be instrumental in fostering thought in my work. After 12 years of working with glass, it is still truly magical to me. The transformation process that glass goes through from solid to molten liquid and back to solid particularly fascinates me. In my finished works, I often try to capture the essence of the material’s fluid nature, visible in the molten state.
Can you tell me about the piece you’ve donated to the Benefit?
The piece I donated, “Ascension to Zion,” is from a new body of work for me that is quite challenging from a technical standpoint. As for the meaning behind the piece, to me the sphere with the many small rings holding together the larger structure represents the ever so fragile mother earth. The triumphant figure represents mankind’s journey to finding inner peace while on this planet.
Have you ever participated in the Benefit before?
I have never been to or participated in the benefit before – I come with no expectations other than to have an enjoyable evening and hopefully meet some new people in the Philly arts community!
Kennedy James
Call you tell us about your piece?
“”Serial Bondage” is a series of large scale and miniature installations by French visual artist Kennedy James. The installations consist of French Victorian style armchairs and chairs tied up and harnessed in the ancient art of Japanese Shibari (rope bondage). The chairs, mostly of the Louis XV, Napoleon III or Voltaire styles, are chosen because of their voluptuous design and anthropomorphic qualities.
Shibari is an ancient Japanese form of erotic and aesthetic expression. It is a sophisticated, complex and technical ritual that reflects the dominative/submissive relationship found at every social level of Japanese society. As in every other Japanese ritual (like ikebana, the tea ceremony or the art of wearing a kimono), Shibari is about ancestral rules and strict aesthetic standards. These rituals illustrate a typical desire of Japanese culture: to restrain nature in order to control the wild aspect of life.
Before the popular perception of bondage as wholly erotic, Shibari was originally used by soldiers (in the pay of Samurais) to immobilize war prisoners. During the Edo period (1600-1868) it became a method of punishment and a strict code began to govern its use. The rope had different colors corresponding to the time of the year and the positioning of the prisoner corresponded directly to the time of season. During centuries the rules evolved to where the colors of the rope and the bondage pattern would reflect the profession, type of crime and social standing of the criminal.
“Serial Bondage” has been featured in galleries in Paris, New York, and Tokyo and commissioned by Tokyo-Arts and the MoMa of Shanghai as a part of their permanent collection.”
Why should people be encouraged to come to the Benefit and see the work in person, rather than just viewing it online?
It’s always better to come see a piece in person to really appreciate it. Online it can be hard to grasp the scale, colors or even the feel of a piece of art.

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