Demetra Theofanous & Dean Bensen

Demetra Theofanous – My signature is a technique I developed for weaving glass, which allows me to create large scale sculptures by melting glass in the flame at a table top torch.   Technique merges with narratives in my work, to express metaphorical bridges between nature and human beings.  Inspired by the storytelling tradition of woven tapestry and basketry, I see myself as weaving with glass to connect the viewer with the story of the natural world.  Through the delicate nests, flowers, branches, and leaves in each piece, I seek to depict the cycle of life: growth, discovery, change and renewal.  I use the fluidity and fragility of glass to express the beauty and vulnerability inherent in the human experience.  I also consider the effect of time and choice and their impact on personal growth.  My eggs, buds, and flowers are key elements that evoke this notion of rebirth, becoming, and transformation of self. My most recent work is an evolution from nests, or habitats, to vessels and continues to build upon the notion of transformation of self.  Containment is utilized as a metaphor for the human experience, contrasting protection and constraint, and the ultimate consequence on our personal path and growth.

Dean Bensen – Growing up with a strong appreciation for the outdoors, environmental stewardship became the foundation for Dean’s body of work.  He creates work inspired by the natural world, utilizing either transparency, or the color patterns and textures in nature, to convey his message. His “Transparent Forest” series conveys the overlooked aspects of nature, by creating transparent tree trunks with carved bark detailing the texture of the majestic Redwoods of California.  The transparency represents the ability to see through or pass by them as though they do not exist.  It reflects the landscape around us, often rendered invisible, as we focus on our busy day to day.  We know the forest surrounds us, but we don’t always acknowledge its’ importance, and may not appreciate it until it is endangered or gone.  His concepts have built upon this, and continue to evolve by investigating the life cycles in nature, their significance, and the interplay between the earth and various species.  Within the forest, symbiotic elements work in conjunction with each other, to create a mutually beneficial relationship as each species thrives more in working together, than they would alone.  This  symbiosis is a metaphor for our interdependence on one another as well as the environment, and the fragility of the delicate nature of these relationships.