Jen Gandee

Jen Gandee

Artist Statement

I believe objects give clues to the past. Material culture reveals much about a given society: the level of technology, religious beliefs, morality, amount of individual freedom, class structure, geography, economic resources, and the rhythms of daily life (to name a few). When I combine and juxtapose objects from disparate sources, I create a unique visual language which comments on my place, time, and culture.

I gather inspiration from many sources, primarily historical art pieces and folk art traditions; these allow me to access the past while placing myself firmly in the present. I also draw upon my ceramic education and professional experience as a potter, which trained me to solve formal problems through the development of a series of objects, taught me the history of my medium, and ingrained in me a respect for utility, even when function is implied or metaphorical. These qualities remain evident in my sculptural pieces and align my work with the core values at the heart of craft.

In all of my work, I utilize traditional craft materials, processes, and forms as a way to identify my role as a maker in a complex and diversified modern society. I am drawn to historical objects laden with symbolic meaning. As a result, my work finds itself where art and craft collide and historical and the contemporary sometimes switch places. By combining recreated historical forms and reinterpreted traditional patterns and techniques with found objects and appropriated modern imagery, I explore the shifting relationships between function and symbolism and between personal experiences and the experiences of others.