Ben Tooth is a Sculptor based in Walcha, NSW. Tooth majored in Sculpture during his BFA at National Art School in Darlinghurst, Sydney. After graduating Tooth relocated his practice to Walcha to assist his artistic mentor Stephen King full-time. Tooth's work combines modern artistic practices with traditional building techniques. Tooth prodominantly works with Australian hardwoods because of their weight, density and longevity. His sculpture “I Beam” was recently awarded the Moolarben Acquisition Prize in 2019 at SITG in Mudgee, NSW

 

It is hard to separate Tooth’s artistic practice from his everyday interaction with the natural world. Cognisant of his craft’s age-old dependence on and interrogation of the natural properties of wood, he sees his artistic work as partly a reflection on the sculptor’s relationship to the living source of his medium, and humanity’s increasingly fraught relationship with it – in particular the effects of deforestation and unsustainable timber harvesting practices. In 2017 a freak weather event, dubbed an ‘inland cyclone’, tore through his hometown of Walcha, uprooting over 200,000 trees. The devastation was indiscriminate: trees young and old, light and immature or sturdy with established root systems, formed an arboreal graveyard in the storm’s path across the district. These same timber populations, barely a year later, were among the first to be ravaged by the 2019/20 bushfires, the worst recorded anywhere in the world. To Tooth these events are not coincidental; they are direct protests by an increasingly fragile natural world under assault. His practice already defined by a deep and abiding love of native timbers, these events spurred Tooth to use only wood collected from devastated nearby farms – giving the wood a new life after its former was cut short. His simply styled constructions echo the postures of trunks and limbs in their natural environments. Living and working on a farm, Tooth sees his works as abstracted distillations of the rich and diverse tree-life that surrounds him. Tooth delights in the manipulation of negative space and rudimentary geometric form to create works of hard, elegant simplicity