Words by Katie Farley
An image-maker and sculptor whose works artfully imbue statements that resonate with contemporary life, Jessica Calderwood’s quirky craftsmanship’s instill equal measures of chic and idiosyncrasy. Working with the multifaceted mediums of metal, enamel, and esoteric crafts, she applies an amalgamation of traditional and industrial processes of metalworking that navigates into subject matters which include personal narratives, gender, relationships, and identity.
Fleeting from manipulating large-scale sculptures and drawings to small-scale objects that translate as being wearable, Jessica works with a versatile range of artistic practices as an ever-evolving mechanism to consistently demonstrate her creative developments. Her charming aesthetics extent into the categories of wall work, jewelry, and sculpture.
Amid her education, Calderwood attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where she received a BFA and shortly after attended Arizona State University, attaining her MFA, with an emphasis on Metalworking. The artist’s body of work has earnt her much critical acclaim where she has exhibited amid a number of curated and juried retrospectives throughout the United States and internationally further afield.
Jessica’s latest series of sculptures illustrates a unification of botanical references with accents of the human body in a humorous, albeit mindful attempt to showcase the narrative of the fundamental life cycles within an individual’s existence: growth, metamorphosis, aging, and the inevitable death. The application and intent to work with flowers and plants are to create illusionary forms of multi-layering that are indicative of the many stages of life.
“Flowers have been used throughout history as symbols of the feminine: ‘she is as delicate as a flower.’ Western culture has an intricate system of flower symbolism that has been a way for humans to express and communicate complex emotions. I am interested in using these symbolic references in order to talk about issues of gender and identity,” vocalizes Jessica of her recent inspiration.
Calderwood’s interests lay in applying traditional craft media, correspondingly for their creative assets and additionally their references of historical value to ‘marginal craft forms’, including enamel, porcelain, felted wool, and polymer clay. A cohesion of miniature and large-scale figurative sculptures have been experimented with, incorporating human/botanical fusions that are bold and robust with missing heads and arms.
With pieces entitled ‘succulent’ and ‘sexpot’, Jessica delivers works of wittiness that is enchantingly unorthodox and curiously quaint. A delectable dichotomy of colors, textures, and emotions further radiate the artist’s unique approach to twenty-first-century handicrafts as you’ve never seen before.