October 19 – December 2, 2017
Preview reception October 18, 5:30 to 7:30pm
First Thursday art walk November 2, 6:00 to 8:00pm
Ben Buswell and Meagan Atiyeh in conversation Saturday, November 4, 4:00pm


For his third solo exhibition at Upfor, local artist Ben Buswell presents photo-based and fused glass sculptures. The photo-based works in The Story is Not the Story feature close-up images of obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass, taken by Buswell at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon. Buswell-hand embellished the glossy emulsion layer of each photograph with an accumulation of scratches, then built and painted unusually shaped frames for them.

To create the glass sculptures in the exhibition, Buswell carefully pressed a flag of the United States into beds of white frit (silica granules), then heat fused the frit, resulting in crystalline debossments.

Continuing his use of slow physical processes such as scratching and melting, the artist eschews language and symbolism as forms of communication, preferring the shared physical experiences of making and viewing artwork as a way to create mutual empathy.


Ben Buswell (b. 1974 in Dallas, Oregon) is based in Portland, Oregon. A Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts (2015), Buswell is also a two-time recipient of Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grants and recently completed a residency at Bullseye Glass in Portland. Buswell's sculptural work spans diverse media, encompassing ceramics, metals, resins, incised photographs and more. He subjects these materials to physical processes such as scratching, melting and tearing,  wherein the accumulation small, repetitive gestures build into a complex whole.

Notable solo exhibitions in addition to Upfor include Samuel Freeman, Los Angeles; The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Helzer Gallery, TILT Gallery and Project Space and CoCA Seattle. He was included in the major group exhibitions Portland2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center and The Oregon Biennial at the Portland Art Museum (2006). Buswell holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and BFA from Oregon State University. Collections that house his work include that of Jan and Patricia de Bont and the public collections at Portland Community College, Rock Creek and the Collaborative Life Sciences Building at Oregon Health and Science University, among others.