Indiana-based artist Jessica Calderwood imbues her whimsically camouflaged figures with questions about the female psyche. Whether covered by a polka-dotted orb or stuck in a ruffled tube of fabric, her nondescript women are temporarily trapped by their environments, their only defining features the sleek black pumps or striped kneesocks that stick out from their disguise. This concealment, Calderwood says, serves as “a negation, a censoring or denial of what lies beneath. These anthropomorphic beings are at once, powerful and powerless, beautiful and absurd, inflated, and amputated.”
Deftly melding historical techniques with contemporary themes of identity, each of the works is rooted in traditional craftsmanship. A focus on mixed media is at the center of Calderwood’s broad body of work, which spans metalsmithing, jewelry, and wall-based ceramics, and many of her projects blend materials like enamel, porcelain, polymer clay, and felted wool to further evoke craft forms.
Many of the pieces shown here are all on view at Asheville’s Momentum Gallery through September 7, and you can find more of Calderwood’s peculiar sculptures on her site and Instagram.
“Plop,” copper, enamel, porcelain, glass micro-beads, milk paint, and gold luster, 6 x 8 x 6 inches
“Ivory Tower,” copper, brass, polymer, blown glass, vintage plastic buttons, glass pinheads, porcelain, milk paint, and enamel, 5 x 10 x 10 inches
“Stacked,” aluminum, powder coating, cast bronze, brass, blown glass, ceramic decals, porcelain, and milk paint, 15 x 6 x 6 inches
“Shortcake” (2019), copper, enamel, porcelain, rayon flocking, glass head pins, and milk paint
Left: “Succulent” (2014), slip-cast vitreous china, brass, stainless steel, polymer clay, milk paint, 5 x 4 x 4 inches. Right: “Shade” (2017), slip-cast vitreous china, felted wool, head pins, milk paint, stainless steel, and sterling silver, 6 x 4 x 4 inches
“Public and Private,” copper, electroplated enamel, porcelain, milk paint, and steel, 7 x 13 x 4 inches
“Spout,” copper, enamel, glass microbeads, porcelain, pearls, sterling silver, and milk paint, 9 x 5 x 4 inches
“Twist,” copper, enamel, glass seed beads, powder coating, porcelain, milk paint, and brass, 9 x 9 x 5 inches