MFA Thesis

In the late 1980s, after twenty years of working primarily with steel, I began to experiment with other media. The impetus for this was two-fold: an ongoing interest in Picasso’s sculpture, which took me to Paris in 1985 to study his work first-hand at the newly-opened Musée Picasso, and a challenge from fellow artist and teacher Otto Rogers to return to school to research other possibilities for my art. In the Master’s program at the University of Saskatchewan, I produced sculptures combining steel with wood, paper, plaster, lead and Plexiglas. The result of these experiments was a deeper feel for the characteristics of a material, how it felt in the hand and how it altered what I then realized was my rather ingrained sensibility to steel for its strength and rigidity. These new works spoke of softness and malleability, of being ‘squeezed’ through the hands, still sustained by a constructivist vocabulary, but now more deeply wrought.

Douglas Bentham
Statement in Artviews, Vanderleelie Gallery, Edmonton, 1994