Jenn Brazelton. Bangladesh. 2013. ceramic and glass,24 x 17 x 4 in. photographic credit Wilfred J Jones
(A taster from a more extensive pending article)
Art and Cartography in the Ceramic Sculpture of Jenn Brazelton
David L Hume
From her studio in Oakland, California, sculptor, Jenn Brazelton surveys the world, its nation states and their mapped delineation, according to demographic projections. The perceived outlines are then brought to life through the artist’s response to recent events. In so doing, she seeks, through her art, to imbue bald population data with personality, to enhance black and white statistics, with emotive colour, layered upon hand formed clay cartograms.
Demographic maps are the departure point for Brazelton’s sculptures, whose ceramic cartograms, like artists before her, contest the notion that art and cartography have, since the Renaissance, existed as separate disciplines.
Cartography plasticises space, demographic maps both reduce and expand place, which therefore make the ceramic medium the most suitable for its rendering.
What stands out in Brazelton’s work is the insistence of organic form for the representation of both urban and natural spaces.
Bangladesh is perhaps the most accessible work to date. Inspired by the disastrous 2013 factory collapse that revealed the shocking conditions of workers in the textile industry there, Brazelton represents the nation as a ragged rosette of remnant cloth that offers the viewer the illusion of soft to the touch, gentle to the skin, fabric and is astutely finished with muted textile tones. At the centre of this swirling vortex exists a small black recessed pupil, its scope blinkered by the surrounding cloth that threatens to fold, or collapse, in on it. This work is a skillfully realised comment on that which is seen and unseen within the fashion industry.
A sense of emergence and dedication to organic form is available in the artists current and most ambitious work, a table top size model, measuring over five feet, of the United States, based on recent demographic data. Brilliant in its raw bleach white clay, it threatens to fracture along topographic depressions...
Dates: 1890/8–March 12, 1992
Considered one of the matriarchs of American Indian pottery, Lucy M. Lewis was born and raised on Sky City mesa, a land formation more than three hundred feet high in Acoma Pueblo, west of Albuquerque, New Mexico http://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/lucy-m-lewis#sthash.h4eCSwcy.dpuf