top bar

Jennifer Vantrease: Artist Statement

Shelter. A primal need of humanity. In it one finds much of their basic yearnings encompassed: protection, space, rest, sustenance. When there is safety of shelter, one experiences the most profound hope for transformation in his or her own life, in the life of his family, and in the world around her. In my most recent body of work, the cocoon is the foundational shelter that houses potential transformation.

Through the medium of shelter one most regularly experiences the world, whether it be through that of the body and its clothing, automobiles, homes, workplaces and all number of recreational, political, cultural, and religious structures. Shelters can both facilitate and restrict how one perceives the world. For instance, most human shelters are constructed of synthetic materials and have a way of denying the existence of the natural world unlike the shelters of birds and groundhogs, made of twigs and earth which relate directly to the world in which they live. For this reason, in my work I am continually drawn to use materials from the natural world —such as cotton, wool, sisal, wood, wax —and to bring them to the conversation.

Solidarity. A second primal need. In solidarity one realizes that he or she is not alone but rather linked to the larger human body —whether local, national, or global. Ironically, solidarity often works in tension with shelter, pulling one outside of what is safe and protected, expanding one's own windows to the world and forging new possibilities of survival, meaning, and change.

And yet in contemporary society —particularly in urban metropoli of never-ending change and movement —solidarity or the simple ability to connect with other human beings —is often an overwhelming challenge. As a result, there is a deep level of fragmentation that one can experience in his or her isolation. Believing that the phenomenon of solidarity holds some of the greatest possibilities for personal and communal transformation, it is part of the objective of my work to be a catalyst for both collaboration and dialogue in which solidarity can form.

©2007 by Jennifer Vantrease

bottom bar