Folded Circle/Ring belongs to a series of sculptures Fletcher Benton began making during the 1970s. His initial experiments were created by bending folded flat pieces of paper or cardboard into three-dimensional forms, later translating the process into steel sculptures and large-scale commissions. These works were Benton’s solution to the problem of how to take a flat slab of rigid metal and transform it into an intricate, supple-looking sculptural object. He created the Folded Circles without adding or subtracting from the chosen piece of steel, relying instead on the processes of cutting, bending, and moving to reshape its parts. The form of the circle always remains in Benton’s sculptures, but has been transformed into something new.
After moving in 1956 from Ohio to San Francisco, where lived until his death in 2019, Benton established his artistic career by creating expressionist paintings and kinetic pieces. He formed a friendship with the sculptor George Rickey following their participation in the landmark exhibition Directions in Kinetic Sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum in 1966. By the late 1970s, Benton had shifted his practice to more static forms of sculpture, primarily using materials like bronze and steel. Over the past four decades he has produced a number of sculpture series including Folded Circles as well as Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals, Donuts, and Steel Watercolors. While all are abstract, geometric constructions, as Benton notes, “Sculpture is real, in space… There’s nothing illusionary about it.”