My artwork explores the interaction of human activities with the natural environment and the idea that we are currently living in an epoch where human activities have had a significant impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, known as the Anthropocene. Within this domain, my interests range from concepts of land and natural resource use to the psychological effects of living in the “non-places” of a hypermodern world. Our contemporary condition has given us an overwhelming trust in progress and created a general disregard for our relationship to natural systems and processes.
In my studio practice, there is no hierarchy of material or method. I believe in a holistic approach to art making–an approach that balances aesthetic judgment, craftsmanship, concept, and material. Within my work there is often a direct material-to-concept relationship. Accepting that all materials carry cultural and historical significance, I choose materials that feed my conceptual agenda.
Through personal experience of landscape and image collection, I select ubiquitous forms and images. I then use that information to construct sculptural arrangements, drawings, digital images, animations, etc. I employ surrealism and psychedelic imagery to amplify the visual experience as a means of visual intoxication and persuasion. I acknowledge my implicit participation in the Anthropocene and enjoy the benefits of a material culture. Therefore, I situate my work between skepticism and veneration.
DYLAN J. BECK is the Department Head of Ceramics and Digital Strategies at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR. He earned his BFA from Ohio University, Post Baccalaureate Fellowship from Illinois State University, and MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. After teaching at Kansas State University as the Area Coordinator of Ceramics from 2007-2013 Dylan moved to Portland Oregon to accept his current position at OCAC. He has exhibited and lectured extensively and has published articles in Ceramics: Art and Perception, CFile, and the NCECA Journal. Beck has served on the boards of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Artaxis.org, and NCECA.
Born in rural southeastern Ohio, Dylan Beck spent his childhood living between small town Ohio, inner city Columbus, and the wooded Hocking Hills. These diverse environments had a major impact on how he interprets landscape. As a teenager Dylan worked for his father’s home construction business which directly informed his use of materials and understanding of infrastructural development. His artwork explores the interaction of human activities with the natural environment and the idea that we are currently living in the Anthropocene, where human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.