"Games People Play”

Nations Bank Atlanta Georgia

80’ X 80’ X 4’

Ms. Marianne Weinberg-Benson an established master potter has created a huge chess board in the cavernous lobby of the NationsBank Plaza. Known widely for her experimentation and skillful manipulations with the ceramic medium, Weinberg-Benson delivers this exciting installation of works entitled “Games People Play” an expression she embodies with multiple meanings. First the designs of the works are based on the characters in the game of chess. Secondly, the brightly-colored drawings depict the psychological and emotional games that people play within the course of human interaction. As chess is a battle of strategy, skill and intellect, human relations are a game of power, the struggle to control, and the rituals of courting.

Keeping to the elements of the game, Weinberg-Benson has created a dark ( in her signature cobalt blue glaze) and a light (in a clear glaze over the white porcelain) chess set. Each of the pieces a reinterpretation of its original form: king, queen, castle, bishop, knight and pawn. The intricate patterns and elegant shapes of these large works, lend as much influence to the actual game pieces as they do to architectural elements of old buildings: finials, gingerbread patterning, and Gothic decorations. Weinberg-Benson first noted the English architecture and large lawn chess sets, the beginning point of this series, during an artist residency in England.

In the “Games People Play” installation the subject revolves around themes of human communication and interaction. Through the examination of the lives of friends, family, students, and even strangers, Weinberg-Benson’s piece comments on the conscious manipulations of people and their efforts to control their environment, their relationships and their future.

While the drawings primarily elicit our emotional responses to the work, they are but a fraction of the entire presentation. As Pamela Blume Leonard said in her review for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Using black (cobalt) and white pedestals to support the large vases that stand as chess pieces was wise because it lets viewers wander among them… This way, rather than merely looking at a game, you get a sense of commingling with the composition and becoming a chess piece yourself.”

Weinberg-Benson’s technical expertise in the ceramic medium is evident in the laborious techniques used to create these elegant works. Each piece is made of wheel thrown porcelain joined together while still damp, fired with a high-gloss glaze and then specific areas are masked off, and sandblasted. The juxtaposition of the smooth vs. sandblasted exteriors creates a visual tension that is further enhanced by the unique shapes of the drawing surfaces. Rarely does an artist combine the two mediums, ceramic and drawing, and fewer still with such expertise.


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