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Jen Watson – Ceramic Artist

My figurines exist somewhere between relic and homage, honoring the tradition of the figurine and subverting it. I think of myself as a collector of the discarded, and a curator of kitsch with an affinity for the tasteless and cheap. I use the language of icons already existent in the world of figurines to modify meaning and to give new life to the old. It is natural for me to work with the found object, and I strive to change the unchangeable through physical intervention.

I am infatuated with the things that others find ugly, gaudy, chintzy, and crude because in them I find the most honest expressions of human taste. One of my favorite activities is perusing a secondhand store or flea market, because they are filled with the things that people once chose to keep.

These objects are in limbo, not precious enough to hold on to but too precious to throw away. They stand witness to the past, and to the cycle of life and death. I am drawn to them because they serve as vessels for memories. When I encounter them at a sale they exist without a purpose, providing a space for my hand, and presenting me with an opportunity to imbue them with a new meaning. My imagery stems from these found figurines, commercial molds, and other unusual things I acquire. By intervening on these objects with silicone, glitter, resins, decals, and china paints, my work superficially suggests opulence, but the artificiality of these materials betrays my often-subversive intentions. I hope to share the value and humor I see in these things by re-presenting them in a gallery setting.

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