Born in Cleveland in 1978, Jessica Calderwood received her BFA in 2001 from the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied enameling with Gretchen Goss. She subsequently received an MFA in metals from Arizona Sate University in 2005. Calderwood's work, including her jewelry, panels, sculpture, and installations, reflects her interest in the human body and in capturing those "stolen" moments in time when humankind's strengths and frailties are most fully exposed. She has also sought to expand the expressive potential of enameling by using the medium as one tool among many in her exploration of provocative subjects and highly inventive form.
In her work which typically depicts commonplace, everyday events and activities – a woman eating a strawberry or a girl fondling a string of pearls – something seems slightly off, slightly askew. This off-beat note lends an element of the surreal to her imagery. Her ability to discern strangeness in the commonplace, the truth hidden behind a layer of artifice, lends her work its mystery and its power.
The subject of quotidian vice is equally important to the artist. In a series of works entitled Mother's Little Helper
, a woman takes a pill, probably a sedative, to help her deal with her day-to-day challenges. In another composition a child, seemingly lost in thought, puffs on a cigarette, unmindful of being observed. In these works, Calderwood deftly captures stolen moments in time as everyday people pursue their little vices when they think no one is looking.
In more recent work which has focused on issues more personally related to the artist, Calderwood stated, "Sexuality, gender, human relationships and issues surrounding the body are subjects that often permeate my work. Some of my drawings and forms are very literal interpretations, while others are more abstracted and ambiguous. My drawings often reference images from the media and popular culture to convey my ideas. My most recent pieces are psychological portraits addressing the idea of personal obsession and consumption in contemporary culture."
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