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Ben Peterson: Nebraska
January 17 – February 28, 2015
2831A Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
Opening reception: Saturday, January 17, 6 – 8pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 – 6pm

Ratio 3 is pleased to announce Nebraska, an exhibition of new sculptures by Ben Peterson. Working with clay, Peterson has developed a body of work that departs dramatically from his earlier works on paper; where his drawings were sprawling and intricate, Peterson’s sculptures are minimal and concise. Consisting of four distinct groups of ceramic works, Nebraska marks Peterson’s first solo exhibition in the gallery’s Mission Street space.

Eschewing the tactility and glazed textures common to the medium, Peterson’s ceramic works are angular and geometric, producing an austere simplicity in even his most elaborate constructions. The works’ painted surfaces take on the appearance of weathered and patinated concrete, suggesting that despite their size, each sculpture is alluding to an architectural history.

Taking its name from the midwestern state that saw the construction of some of the earliest cast concrete structures, Nebraska is an exhibition partly motivated by architecture. Exhibited on large, site-specific plinths, Peterson’s sculptures refer to the legacy of minimal architecture, including its origins in the functional design of grain silos, through its later development in Constructivism and Brutalism. Several sculptures in Nebraska reflect the formal similarities between military fortifications and public spaces, while others evoke figurative and architectural forms equally.

While drawing influence from the origins of modernist architecture and the design of functional objects, Peterson’s sculptures are ultimately constructed according to intuition. Not modeled strictly after existing buildings or objects, the works comprising Nebraska oscillate between identities as architectural models, functional objects, and primitive totems.

Ben Peterson (b. 1977, Hawthorne, Nevada) lives and works in Oakland, California. He earned his BFA at the California College of the Arts in 2004, and his MFA from Stanford University in 2014. His work has been exhibited broadly at institutions including the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania. Peterson’s work is in the collections of the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens; the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. This is his fourth solo exhibition with Ratio 3.