18th July – 11th August 2018
Jessica Calderwood is a sculptor and image-maker that works with a wide range of media. She is interested in using traditional crafts, both for their creative properties, as well as their historical references as ‘marginalized craft,’ including enamel, porcelain painting and fibers. Working through a variety of formats, including sculpture, wall work and jewelry, this recent body of work is meant to express frustrations and exaltations associated with identity as a female, as well as the nuances, and complexities of contemporary life.
Jessica Calderwood is an image-maker and sculptor that works in esoteric craft media. She uses a combination of traditional and industrial metalworking processes as a means to make statements about contemporary life. She received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from Arizona State University, with an emphasis Metalworking. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally in curated and juried exhibitions. She has participated in artist residencies with the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program, Ferro Corporation, and the Mesa Arts Center. Her work has also been published in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, NICHE, Ornament, the Lark 500 series, and the Art of Enameling. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Ball State University.
By Bella Neyman, Independent Curator, Former Gallery Director at R|R Gallery, New York
Calderwood is a mixed media artist who creates wall reliefs, freestanding sculptures, and wearable objects that explore women’s role in society. Material Matters will feature the artist’s oeuvre in its entirety including enamel jewelry and ceramic sculptures.
Sparked by Calderwood’s desire to understand and establish her place in society, and after giving birth to her first child, the artist created a series of large-scale sculptures that were human/plant hybrids. Calderwood, a wife, mother, artist and educator, wanted to express her conflicting emotions through these “self-portraits.” The flower/botanical forms are combined with fragments of the human body to create, what the artist calls, “anthropomorphic beings [that] are at once, powerful and powerless, beautiful and absurd, inflated, and amputated.”
A large ball of flowers acts as a stand-in for a woman’s head or body, either resting on her shoulders or on a pair of dainty legs. These flowers are meant to be “beautiful, overwhelming, and suffocating” -- an expression of the artist’s emotions. Calderwood carefully chooses the flowers based on their symbolism and meaning, each bloom evocative of the feelings that she is trying to convey. Interested in examining the grimmer side of gender roles, Calderwood is exploring the tension between bright florals and the dark gestures.
Effortlessly moving from large-scale to small-scale work, this exhibition will also feature Calderwood’s jewelry. Recognized for her mastery of enamel, Calderwood is interested in working with media that is considered to be a “marginalized craft”. This is what initially attracted her to enamel, a material that is historically part of the woman’s sphere. Recently the artist has started to incorporate polymer clay, porcelain, wool felting, and glass beads, materials that are also attributed to a woman’s hand. Calderwood first started using these materials in her sculptural work but they have slowly become a part of her jewelry making vocabulary as well. The foundation for this recent body of work came to fruition during Calderwood’s Residency in the Arts/Industry Program while at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.
Although trained as a metalsmith, Calderwood first made jewelry as “maquettes for the larger work”. Her jewelry, primarily brooches, has since become an essential part of her output. The artist feels stimulated by the dialogue struck between the large scale and small-scale works; particularly what it means to wear images of the body on the body.
Calderwood received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from Arizona State University, with an emphasis Metalworking. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally in curated and juried exhibitions. Calderwood’s large-scale sculptures and enamels were recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Racine Art Museum, titled Fictitious Flora. She has participated in artist residencies with the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program, Ferro Corporation, and the Mesa Arts Center. Her work has also been published in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, NICHE, Ornament, the Lark 500 series, and the Art of Enameling. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Ball State University.