Donut with Balls and Half Moon


Corten steel sculpture with circles and spheres.

Fletcher Benton
b. 1931 Jackson, OH; d. 2019 San Francisco, CA
Donut with Balls, 2004
Corten steel
15 x 9 x 7 feet
Accession date: 2011
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William Wolgin

Benton is best known for cutting, folding and realigning two-dimensional sheets of steel into three-dimensional objects that challenge the force of gravity. For Donut with Balls and Half Moon, such elementary shapes as circles, spheres, half circles, tubes and a ring, precariously lean against and stack upon each other, embodying the tension between precise harmony and peril that Benton so enjoys forming. He has great reverence for form and balance, constantly teases balance with unbalance, placing the fate of large forms in the hands of much smaller forms. The circle, a figure of completion, appears as the primary focal point here and in many of Benton's sculptures. Serving as a frame or an anchor for other geometric elements, the circle emphasizes the dynamic of balance and imbalance important to these works. Here the circle is labeled a donut and served as the central theme and title to the series of massive sculptures Benton constructed in the early 2000s.

He wisely describes his approach as: "Other than the poet and the artist, I don't know of anybody else who has total control. The artist is the creator, the worker, the judge, or the destroyer…And control is very important to me in my art." Benton’s road to creating massive sculptures is odd. He was a sign painter early in his adulthood and became fascinated with the geometrical forms inherent in the very accurate lettering necessary to the job. This interest in geometric relationships translated into his inspiration to create dynamic and complex sculptural work based in simple geometric forms