July 15-30, 2013
Addressing the ideas about the role of males in modern society is central in Dan Bethune’s sculptures. Dan works primarily with cast and fabricated resin, which he manipulates in a variety of ways. The resin has a pink color to it, which he occasionally embraces and other times covers with paint.
His work and process of making is overtly masculine. Dan arrived at A.I.R. Studio with a truck full of power tools, including a chop saw, belt sander, drill press, orbital sander, router, and various sanding and carving implements. The only thing it seemed that he didn’t bring was his table saw, which he used prior to his residency for his prep work.
Dan is not trying to be vulgar or pornographic with his work. He enjoys a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor, which I notice in the labeling of several of his more minimal pieces. These titles include, “Vas Deferens”, “Secret Sauce” and “Viscosity”, quietly referencing parts of the male anatomy. His early work included heavy jewelry and ritualistic knives. His current body of work started with a fabricated baby doll form with a large penis bolted onto it. He continues to use the baby doll forms because of they are less aggressive, but he realizes that some viewers have difficulty looking at his work. He believes men can frequently be childish, shirking off their responsibilities as parents and in business, maintaining a distant role. The baby doll forms allude to this childish tendency. He has seen a subtle change in recent years, with more single parents sharing custody of their children and fathers more involved with their relations.
His strand series consists of individual balls and cones of shaped resin connected together. The resin is painted with a white pearl finish, alluding to a strand of pearls or to bones. Some of these pieces he hangs on the wall, some he suspends in the air. The flexibility of the resin as a material makes these pieces look a lot like fine porcelain, when in reality they are only plastic.
His most current work is more minimal, consisting of shaped canvases. Are they drawings, paintings, sculptures? He enjoys the lack of definition with these works themselves. The pink coloration and ball shape still carry through into these pieces. The process of sanding and scraping of the surface is exposed in these works, which become more simplistic as he works. He sees the content of these pieces as referring to objects and places, and looks forward to the evolution of this series.
Dan earned his MFA at the University of Florida and his BFA at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He currently a Lecturer of Art at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.