Born in 1972 in Pasadena, California
Lives and works in Helena, Montana
Beth Cavener specializes in the creation of clay sculptures that often depict uncanny animals in astonishing and exacting poses. The artist refers to them as “suspended in a moment of tension.” Beneath the surface, her work explores the consequences of human fear, aggression, and misunderstanding through animal forms, and therefore transforms her animal subjects into psychological portraits. The artist's working process consists of first building solid sculptures on metal armatures, often with 2,000 or more pounds of clay at a time, cutting the piece into sections, hollowing out each part, and reassembling the pieces before firing.
Cavener received a bachelor’s degree in Sculpture from Haverford College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics from the Ohio State University. After a series of Artist-in-Residence programs in the United States, China, Italy, and Japan, Cavener relocated to Helena, Montana where she built a collaborative studio called Studio 740. She has had a number of important solo and group exhibitions, including From the Ground Up: The 2007 Renwick Invitational at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington, DC, 2007). Cavener's work is in the collections of major art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Art and Design in New York, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was awarded the Artist Trust Fellowship in 2009, the Jean Grif Foundation Fellowship in 2006, the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in 2005, and the American Craft Council’s Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2004.