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
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.