When presented with the insurmountable, how do we respond? Do we resign? Do we rationalize, turn our backs, look away? Do resistance to and fear of change guide us to hold things in place making the unacceptable seem reasonable? Do we mend, make right, fix? Do we embrace change and seek positive outcomes?

Disruptive forces can be found everywhere whether the scope of one’s search is global, societal, or personal. They are as present in the natural world as they are within the human-constructed environments over which we believe we have control. When a disruptive force occurs within a closed system, the effects ripple outwards with ramifications of both positive and negative potential that range from subtle to catastrophic.

My work directly addresses global warming and while calling more broadly for mindfulness and conscious attention to the effects that our individual actions and inactions have upon the diverse ecosystems within which we exist. Our current climate change is the result of accumulation—of carbon and greenhouse gasses, of actions, of inactions, of passive disregard and concerted neglect. Do we choose to be defined by this problem that we have created or the strength with which we battle it? Will we simply hold it at bay or act aggressively to better our future world?

Disruption: Name It is from a body of work titled In Absence of Reason. A smoky, amorphous form expands within a house-like structure that purports to be sound, constructed with the stud walls that support our houses. Upon closer inspection, this home reveals itself to be illogical and unsustainable. The entirety of this situation is presented as a specimen for study upon the organized system of a grid. Its consequences, however, cannot be controlled or contained; shadows of indeterminate origin break the fourth wall, reaching into and affecting the viewer’s space.

I speak as an observer of society, a witness to a crisis, and an active participant in this problem. I urge my viewers to take responsibility for their roles in how we are changing the world by changing behaviors/habits and by taking action. Will we be victims of a disruptive force or will we be the disruptive force itself?



Charles Beneke
Professor of Art
University of Akron

Charles Beneke earned a B.A. in Art and Psychology from Kenyon College in 1990. After working in book cover design in New York City, he attended The University of Connecticut where he received his MFA in Printmaking and Mixed-media in 1996. Beneke was an assistant professor of art at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming from 1997 to 2001 where he taught Foundations. He is currently a professor of art at The University of Akron Myers School of Art at in Akron, Ohio where he is the Printmaking area coordinator. Beneke is the president of the Southern Graphics Council International. He was the 2008-10 president of the Mid America Print Council. His work in a broad range of print media, installation, painting, and new media addresses disruptive forces within closed systems ranging from the global to the personal.