Benjamin Provo

Find Benjamin on instagram @benjaminjacobprovo

Benjamin is a self-taught artist working in ceramics, painting, and mixed media. The son of an Israeli hippie and a National Park Service ranger,    he spent his childhood surrounded by wilderness in some of America’s remotest places, before his family landed in Southern California where he spent his teenage years skateboarding and surfing.  After graduating with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, he pursued a life in art as a curator, studio manager, gallery director, and project coordinator for several important contemporary artists and art galleries in Los Angeles and New York City, all the while quietly making his own paintings and works on paper inspired by the geometries of the urban environment and the meditative potential of the grid. In the midst of his career on the business side of art, Benjamin began exploring with clay in 2010 and it quickly took prominence in his life.

Benjamin’s ceramics bridge the deep past to the present moment, employing the forms of ancient vessels as an armature for modern modes of abstract mark making.  Informed by a close study of archaic Greek and Judaic pottery, his vessel forms combine the deep-time familiarity of archeological objects with the ephemeral jolt of the expressionistic gesture, rooted always in the places that inspire him most: the Southwest, the Mediterranean, and the urban landscapes of American cities.  In a  2021 interview with, celebrated contemporary still life painter Ellen Altfest described his work as: “Ceramics that use glaze in such beautiful ways that they are as much paintings as useable objects.” 

His paintings and works on paper are based in observation and contemplation of details in the surfaces of overlooked objects, often discarded, compromised, abandoned or otherwise excluded from the realm of what typically constitutes the beautiful and the good, evoking the effects of entropy upon the urban and natural world.  Benjamin’s abstract works employ non-traditional materials and methods of mark making which challenge the hierarchy of traditional mediums and expressive gestures: scraping, scratching, rubbing, peeling, cutting, burning, and  other means of accretion and erasure.  

Since 2019, Benjamin has been exhibiting and sharing his ceramics, paintings, and works on paper in art galleries, design studios, and art studio events around the North East.  Across mediums, his work presents a cohesive project looking into the archeology of emotion and the psycho-temporal nature of aesthetics.