Jean Behnke

Born in Yakima and raised in Seattle, Jean graduated from Cornish and the University of Texas in San Antonio. She has exhibited for over 37 years with reviews in Art in America and Artweek. Solo exhibitions include Kohler House, Art Gym, Women & Their Work, Cygnus, Anchor and Shoreline. Jean founded Anchor art space, a project space offering compelling exhibitions and art education. She served on Boards at Cornish, 911, Anchor, La Conner Arts Commission and presented workshops for Artist Trust. Jean is represented by Smith & Vallee Gallery and recently exhibited at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art in September through November, 2017.

Artist Statement

I was raised in the Northwest and inspired by essential relationships found in the forest-like the protection of the cedar bough, the communication between fungi and trees and the role of the composting/renewing nurse log. My bronze work began as gathered and assembled wood elements and later these wooden forms were cast in bronze. These
cast bronze forms simply materialize my sense of home and belonging in the world- and as objects they occupy space in a totemic way. My approach to printmaking is inventive. The press brings unpredictable depth into flat space by merging shape and mark making into composite layers under thousands of pounds of pressure. Borrowing a remark from Master Printer Elizabeth Tapper, “The press itself always has something to say last…” and in the process of printing each additional layer on paper brings a welcome departure from my initial intention. What I make in the studio seems to resolve itself some place between my intention and lack of it. This resolution is not possible to predict so I can place things in some kind of alignment where an authentic work may happen.

Jean Behnke
August, 2019