More Than Meets the Eye

I created “More Thank Meets the Eye”, for both sighted and visually impaired viewers. To sighted viewers, the thousands of porcelain leaves are white when viewed without the internal light source illuminated. When that light source is turned on, the same porcelain leaves glow with an autumnal palette of coral, yellow, orange and green. Apparent to all viewers, occasional frogs, snakes, butterflies and bugs peek out among the leaves. Also visible, but overlooked by most sighted viewers, are small bumps on some leaf surfaces that appear to be a leaf blight, but are in fact mantric messages encoded in Braille cells. These cells read left to right, but follow the leaf veining that forms an inverted “v”. Thus, to understand the Braille message you must read the first word “uphill” and the second word (when there is one) “downhill”. Each phrase begins with a six-dot cell and a capital symbol. Because these cells are written by hand, the Braille is very difficult to read. I have taken great pains trying to make my cells uniform in size. Each dot consists of 4-5 layers of porcelain slip, built up using a very tiny sable brush. But it is still challenging to read. The texture of the veins and the surrounding leaves make reading these Braille messages confusing at best. The messages are intended to be an interesting challenge for Braille readers as well as a reminder to sighted viewers that there is often more than meets the eye. For all viewers, the messages are intended to be mantric reminders of what is good in our world. I hope you are able to decipher my writing, enjoy the challenge and appreciate the thoughts I have chosen to encode in my artwork. This artwork is about our fascinating sense of touch as well as sight, and is intended to communicate my appreciation for beauty to all who encounter it.

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Curtis Benzle

My luminous work not only responds to the interior environment, but also defines it by controlling light and shadow. These sculptures derive intricately complex surfaces from the repeated presentation of essentially simple, natural forms-leaves, petals, insects and reptiles. The complexity is heightened through the incorporation of light—drawing the viewer deeper into the porcelain surface.

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