Galleri Urbane is proud to announce that Florida based artist, Jessica Drenk, will have her fourth solo show, “States of Matter”, at GUMD opening October 14. Focused on mankind’s evolving relationship to nature, Jessica Drenk’s newest bodies of work complicate the definition of “manmade” and “natural” objects by combining both into pieces that defy categorization.
To Drenk, the material is content. Reminiscent of Art Povera masters, she chooses everyday materials for their inherent content. She is particularly enthralled by the ontology of books, writing materials, and the connotations of knowledge and production present in the object. Her process then continues with the precision and methodic grace that governs the growth patterns of trees, the melting of ice, and the formations left behind in sedimentary rocks after thousands of years. In her own words, “on a long enough time scale, there is no difference between manmade and nature”. The artist’s act of reshaping everyday objects - is disorientating and disrupts our tendency to categorize manmade and natural objects separately.
In “States of Matter”, Drenk presents pieces from several bodies of work, including Reading our Remains, Immutable Ice, and Circulation. Reading our Remains is an ongoing collection of altered books, each piece inspired by nature and the ever-changing-natural world. The collection began as an exploration in obscuring text: creating pieces in which visual form became the subject to be read. This process eventually evolved into a meditation upon erosion and decay and the preservation of culture through time. Inspired by fossils, geological specimens, and organisms of all kinds, these books have been re-formed into objects that seem better suited to a natural history museum than a library.
Viewing them has also become a new experience: we are reading and studying ourselves, the specimens we are, and the specimens we might leave behind. Immutable Ice began on a beach in Iceland littered with pieces of half-melted glacial ice. Each day there, unique shapes are created as the ocean carves the ice, and each day these beautiful natural sculptures melt out of existence. Immutable Ice is her attempt to preserve the ephemeral beauty of these fleeting forms by carving them in marble, lasting and immutable. With undertones of pressing global issues, such as climate change, these pieces evoke a return to primitive impulses to carve stone as well as a desire to preserve experiences that may be lost.
Circulation is a continuation of Drenk’s exploration of books as raw material. Coiled strips of book pages shaped into a form resembling the rings of a tree hint at the innate material connection between books, a physical symbol of accumulated knowledge, and the trees used to make them —a reminder of the circular life-cycle of materials and the fundamental connection between the natural and man-made worlds.
As an inquiry into materiality, the artist questions objects that surround us as well as the composition of the objects in the natural world. Parts combine and create a whole, the shape and intricacies of texture are found in the world at every scale imaginable and readily exploited to create objects that are fluid States of Matter.
Jessica Drenk is an American artist raised in Montana, where she developed an appreciation for the natural world that remains an important inspiration to her artwork today. Tactile and textural, her sculptures highlight the chaos and beauty that can be found in simple materials. Drenk’s work is also influenced by systems of information and the impulse to develop an encyclopedic understanding of the world.
Drenk’s work can be found in private collections throughout the world, and can be seen in galleries across the United States. Her work is a part of several corporate collections, such as that of Fidelity Investments and The Macallan distillery in Scotland, as well as university collections, including that of the Yale University Art Gallery. Drenk has been the recipient of several awards, including International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, and her work has been pictured in Sculpture and Interior Design magazines, as well as The Workshop Guide to Ceramics. Drenk received an MFA in 3D Art from the University of Arizona in 2007 and a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College in 2002. A working artist since 2007, Drenk’s home and studio are currently in Florida.