Southeast Professor’s Ceramic Works to be Exhibited at Museum



Aug. 28, 2009 – “Benjie Heu: Transition Spaces 09.1,” an installation featuring ceramic works, opens Sept. 4 in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The public is invited to attend an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. Sept. 4 with a gallery talk by the artist at 6 p.m. The exhibit will remain on display through Oct. 25.

The ceramics of Benjie Heu express a personal narrative with the most outlandish adventures accounted with an eye fixed on the bare essentials. Battles against time, against the obstacles that prevent the fulfillment of desire or the repossession of something cherished but lost are themes that inspire him. Revealing truth and humor in the face of horror and the seemingly absurd is his answer.

Heu’s installation for the Transition Spaces Series consists of roughly 200 small- to medium-sized ceramic works featuring playful cartoon-like figures, body parts, inanimate objects, toys and abstract pieces.  The installation continues his exploration with the idea of personal narrative represented in an evolving hero’s journey into self-discovery.  His hero’s journey takes him from ignorance and innocence to experience and enlightenment.   The journey is reminiscent of the kind of story telling seen on the pages of a comic book or a cartoon television show.  This story telling aspect is made more visible with his incorporation of the many small creamy light blue ceramic pieces he calls “stars.”

Heu holds a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from Ohio University (1998) and a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Montevallo (1994) with an emphasis in ceramics, sculpture and printmaking.  In between degrees, he studied ceramics at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (1995).  He is currently associate professor of art at Southeast Missouri State University.

Heu maintains an active exhibition record of solo, group, juried and invitational exhibitions. Recent solo exhibitions include “Face Value” at the College of Southern Nevada; “Benjie Heu” at Three Rivers Community College; and “Characters” at Central College in Iowa. Selected exhibitions include “I Don’t Want to Grow Old and Bitter Alone, I want to Grow Old and Bitter with You” at the LUX Center for the Arts; “Diverse Domain: Contemporary North American Ceramics” at the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan; the NCECA Clay National in San Diego and Baltimore; the National Clay Symposium Exhibition at the Lawrence Arts Center; the Ceramic Sculpture National Juried Exhibition at Nicholls State University; “Plan B” at the Mellwood Arts Center for NCECA Louisville; Ohio University Ceramics; “1990 Until Now” at NCECA Louisville; Ink and Clay National at California State Polytechnic University; “Visions in Clay” at the University of the Pacific; “Supernatural Soire’e” at the Di Rosa Preserve in Napa; Ceramics Invitational at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach; “Gut Feeling” at Exploding Head Gallery in Sacramento; “California Dreamin’” at the ASU Art Museum Ceramic Research Center; “Visions Within” at Beth Allison Gallery in Kansas City; and “Character Development” at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in St. Louis.