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Human

The Art of Beth Cavener
By Garth ClarkEzra ShalesLauren Redding

Details

Overview

The animals in Beth Cavener’s work are better described as avatars, embodiments of persons or emotions that disguise her subjects. In this way she gives her subjects an expanded identity, pairing each with an animal that, to one extent or another, explains or parallels their behavior. The animal reveals the subject’s primal roots and serves as the lens through which we see the evolution of the subject into a modern being. We ultimately come to understand that the human and the animal are inexorably linked together.

The dynamism of Beth Cavener’s figures comes from the constant shifting in our minds from human to animal. It is kinetic, releasing emotional energy caused by the disparity between what we see—the animal form—and what we know—that this is a human portrait. Thus the fascination in Cavener’s art is perpetual.

Subjects: Art

Contributor Bios
Garth Clark is a leading scholar of modern and contemporary ceramics. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, London, with over ninety books and monographs to his credit. As the director of the Ceramic Arts Foundation, he has organized eight international conferences. Clark is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary doctorates for his scholarship, including the 2005 Mather Award from the College Art Association for Distinguished Achievement in Art Journalism, and he was made a Fellow by the Royal College of Art.
Ezra Shales is a professor of art history at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has a PhD from the Bard Graduate Center and an MFA. from Hunter College. He has published numerous articles and essays on contemporary art, most recently on Tom Joyce, Michael Sherill, Kim Dickey, and Shari Mendelson. He is currently writing introductions for new editions of David Pye’s seminal books The Nature of Design (1964) and The Nature and Art of Workmanship (1968).
Lauren Amalia Redding is an artist and writer living and working in Naples, Florida. She received her BA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and her MFA. from the New York Academy of Art in New York. She has exhibited and curated artwork across the United States. Redding is a contributing writer for The Blue Review and PaintGuide, and she writes poetry and articles for many other publications.