Fletcher Benton Biography

Fletcher Benton

American

1931-

Biography

Fletcher Benton was born in Jackson, Ohio in 1931. Benton earned his BFA at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio in 1956. He arrived in San Francisco in the midst of the Beat movement and Benton's early paintings are noticeably inspired by this artistic and social spontaneity. He worked as a sign painter, which provided him with a familiarity of the alphabetical shapes which arise in his later work. Rather than working from sketches or drawings, Benton created a series of maquettes to explore the geometry and visual power of steel.

Quickly abandoning typical painting or drawing, Benton composed sculptures that play between production and fascination. Balance, perception, kinetic energy and movement all inspire Benton's various series utilizing rods, balls, sheets, boxes and edges of metal. His sculpture often defies gravity with welded shapes perched seemingly precariously atop each other. His choice of materials reflects his concern with the unique color, tonality and rich luster inherent in metals. The simplicity of each shape abstractly reveal forms of nature, geometry and human activity. Additionally, Benton taught at San Francisco Art Institute from 1966 to 1967 and then moved on to teach at California State University, San Jose, where he stayed until 1986.