The College of Creative Arts Remembers Alumnus Fletcher Benton


^Fletcher Benton with Current Hiestand Galleries Director Ann Taulbee at the International Sculpture Center Award Gala in San Francisco, 2008.


Fletcher C. Benton, world renowned sculptor and College of Creative Arts alumnus, passed away on June 26, 2019. Benton earned his BFA at Miami University 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. Benton taught at the 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. Benton went on to win a Lifetime Achievement Award in Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center in 2008. 

Hiestand Galleries Director, Ann Taulbee, organized a show of his works in the Hiestand Galleries in 2012 when he received the inaugural Distinguished Artist Alumni Awards. She reflected fondly on their relationship by sharing, "Fletcher Benton was a very special artist and friend to me. I was 19 when I first met Fletcher. I was a Miami Art Museum student assistant (1978-1981) and our friendship, through the many decades, is one of the pleasures of my life."

Fletcher Benton's Obituary>>