John Umphlett

Artist Profile – John Umphlett

John Umphlett is an American artist who works with a variety of mediums. He primarily creates performance sculptures that explore the body’s limits through extreme duress.

He is a Technical Instructor in Visual Arts at Bennington College. He received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and MFA from Bennington.

Early Life and Education

Early childhood education (ECE) is a critical time in the life of a child. It is a period of remarkable brain development and represents the first steps toward academic success.

The earliest years are also the most important for developing children’s social and emotional skills, including self-confidence, positive self-belief, and self-expression. Small class sizes and plenty of teacher interaction help children develop these skills in a safe and nurturing environment.

To help children learn these skills, the DOE offers several resources and tools. These include the Early Literacy Resources webpage, Vroom, and Family Resources and Tools from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.

Professional Career

John Umphlett MFA ’99 is currently an interdisciplinary arts technician at Bennington College where he teaches courses in the technical aspects of sculpture and fabrication. He also demonstrates his passion for the craft with a number of public installations ranging from a light bulb shaped sculpture hung in Bennington College’s main library to a revolving projection installation atop the school’s landmark clock tower.

His work has been exhibited across the country from a Jerome Foundation funded exhibition at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minnesota to a Four K exhibit at Monument Elementary School in Old Bennington, Vermont. His creations are as multi-disciplinary as they come. His latest venture is an augmented reality mobile phone app that uses artificial intelligence to create and display images of the user’s most relevant data.

Achievements and Honors

John Umphlett is an artist whose work crosses multiple mediums including sculpture, video, performance and drawing. An innovative and an inquisitive thinker he is open to experimentation through the love of material handling and repetitive practice.

He creates sculptures and performances that touch on the familiar but with slight shifts in context he presses the viewer to consider alternative explanations of commonplace moments. Whether it be the quiver of a lip or the instant before a bug “splats” on your windshield, he constantly invents new ways to communicate these often absurd moments.

He has exhibited his work throughout the country. His most recent exhibitions include the GALA Art and Artists Celebration at Franconia Sculpture Park (Taylor Falls, Minnesota), and the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture and Performance Exhibition.

Personal Life

John Umphlett was born in southern New Jersey. He trained in drawing and sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University before completing his education at Bennington College, where he earned his MFA.

He is a visual artist who creates work in various mediums including installation, drawing and performance. His work is often characterized as being innovative and inquisitive; he is open to experimentation through the love of material handling and repetitive practice.

He is a Red Sox alumni who played for the Boston team in 1953. He was a member of the club for over 39 games, until he injured his right foot while running out a grounder. He also played a handful of minor-league games with the Indianapolis Indians and Marion Red Sox in 1950.

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