>> More and more often, we hear that our technologically driven society is losing touch with nature. From the way that we treat plants and animals to the legislation that harms rather than helps the planet, we have proven that our relationship with nature is complex. Sculptor Bethany Krull has used her medium since her career began to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and more recently to weave together the “complicated aspects of our species’ relationship with the rest of nature.” Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Krull grew up a “barefoot frog-catching kind of kid” whose rural upbringing and time spent exploring the outdoors inspired her to create. She received her bachelor’s degree in ceramics from Buffalo State and went on to pursue a master’s degree in ceramics from the Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating, Krull spent the next five years traveling the country in pursuit of resident artist and teaching gigs with her husband and fellow sculptor Jesse Walp. She has also been featured in galleries far and wide, from the Cheongju International Craft Centennial in Cheongju City, South Korea to the Archie Bray Foundation Permanent Collection Exhibition in Helena, Montana, and back home in Buffalo with such exhibitions as “Entwined: Jesse Walp and Bethany Krull” and “Tamed: Recent Work by Bethany Krull.” Krull also enjoys teaching part-time at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.
In her current ongoing series, Dominance and Affection, Bethany Krull “explores our history of pet keeping” and “questions the hierarchy of our perceptions regarding specific animals whereby some are deemed to be precious while others are considered pests.” She draws inspiration from the devastation that all species face due to the rapid expansion of the human population. We as humans go to great lengths to keep the “unpredictable and problematic” parts of nature at bay while keeping the cute, less dangerous, genetically modified natural beings as domestic plants and house pets. While her current exhibit is inspired by our “complicated and often contradictory” relationship with nature, Krull is inspired by all of the natural world and credits her time spent in nature as a source of creativity.: “I love the beauty and complex intricacy of tiny things like seeds and insects. I am amazed by the way animal bodies are all so different but maintain certain structural similarities that just change in their proportion from creature to creature.” As a mother herself, we asked Krull how she felt we could get our younger generations involved in the care and keeping of our planet. “It starts at home!” Krull responded. She is always working to instill in her two and four-year-old that earth’s many resources, like water, are finite: “They know that we must recycle as much as we can, that paper comes from trees, and that it’s better to buy something used than brand new.” Krull and her family are also “avid trash pickers and thrift shoppers saving many a used treasure from becoming trash at some landfill.” If you’re not sure how to create a greener household, fear not. Even Krull admits there’s “always something to be improved upon in this realm.” While Krull has reduced her family’s carbon footprint with high-efficiency lighting, a fully insulated home, and working with Push Buffalo to swap their old windows for more energy efficient ones, she feels she could do more: “Our family has drastically reduced our meat consumption but still hasn’t pulled the vegetarian/vegan trigger. I own plenty of canvas shopping bags but forget them on shopping trips more than I care to admit. We own two cars and can’t quite yet see how we could manage without both.” Even if you cannot walk everywhere or fully go vegan, role modeling eco-friendly behaviors impact the way children value finite resources, like electricity and water.
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