LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles-based sculptor Ben Jackel’s latest exhibition Providence of the Night at Brandstater Gallery (Riverside, California, January 17 – February 9, 2017) features a ceramic artillery of enormous cannons, mortars, swivel cannons and his so-called 100-ton gun.
Jackel is primarily interested in creating hand formed objects that deal with the subject and history of war. Typically building most of his work upside-down as a stout coil pot upon which he builds height and width.
“This is the largest clay object I have ever created. It feels crazy and terrifying at times and then exhilarating at others.”
Jackel said is was a challenge to ensure the moisture was just right as he built his giant cannons.
Then, things start to get interesting. Jackel builds most of his work in his Culver City studio, but dries and fires it at a walk-in kiln California State University Long Beach.
“Moving greenware ‘unfired clay’ on the interstate highway through Los Angeles is just part of the adventure.”
“I have never taken such massive greenware sculpture onto the freeway before. I was a bit nervous about the reality of successful completing this piece because of the extreme technical demands. Those ratcheting tie down straps are indispensable.”
Check out his Instagram to see the haul in action.
To assemble his large cannons, Jackel slides a perforated piece of steel into the body of the tubular cannon form, from which he can attach a plywood inset at the base to serve as a mega-strong connection system between the base and the barrel. It’s a process Jackel is calling his new method in ceramic engineering, Jackel CWM Integration System — Clay, Wood, Metal.
“After properly aligning the two connection channels the barrel slid on very smoothly and all of a sudden I had a huge cannon in my studio.”
Once fired and assembled, the cannons were delivered to Riverside’s Brandstater Gallery for the Providence of the Night exhibition opening.
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