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UUFDC Gallery: Roger Benedict

By Jane Delcarson

Relief sculpture by Roger Benedict of Rockford, Illinois, and Sister Bay will be featured in the gallery in June with an opening reception for UU members and friends following the service June 3. A second reception for the public will be held June 9, 2-4 pm.

Roger’s artistic journey led him to focus on woodcarving. His style enables him to express his interest in elements of nature from an organic point of view.

Roger explains, “My technique is adopted from European schools that emphasize specific tools that provide a resulting surface patina from the ‘sweep’ of a gouge.  The finished carving has a patina of carefully blended cut strokes to give depth and contrast.”

As Roger carves a subject he appreciates the sensuous feel of life returning to the wood.  The smell of the wood with the visual and audible senses of chip removal makes him feel, “aware of an unknown tree …  convinced that carving provides a meditative value to the creation of the image.”

During the past 20 years of carving he has found that his joy of carving is counter balanced with his sorrow of knowing that the tree was once a majestic gift of nature in an unknown forest.  His woodcarving art attempts to return beauty to the piece of wood that was inherent in the tree. “Little did I know years ago that woodcarving would provide in my later years such respect for the natural beauty that surrounds us.”

Benedict has taught relief carving in the Rockford area and at the Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay.  He has completed a large composite carving of the Clearing Campus and a relief carving for the Nature Education Center of Severson Dells in Rockford, Illinois.