JESSICA CURTAZ: Into the Cabinet

May 14 - July 31, 2021
  • Jessica working on an installation at the Kensington Health Sciences Academy. Photo: Shana Draugelis.
  • To purchase work from the show, please visit the store here~
  • "My work challenges the boundaries we impose around art, moving across media, borrowing from diverse sources, and collapsing the distance between gallery and street. Trained in drawing, printmaking, and plant biology, I borrow from each of these elements to create intricate drawings, crocheted installations, and large, collaborative public pieces."  
    Jessica Curtaz
  • Join Jessica as she discusses her practice and her 2019 Fleisher Wind Challenge exhibition.

  • Dina Wind and Jessica Curtaz: A Dialogue Gerard Silva Curator Fleisher Art Memorial Dina’s spirit continues to inspire many young...
    Cableknit 7

    Graphite on gessoed paper, 22 x 22", 2012

    Dina Wind and Jessica Curtaz: A Dialogue

     

    Gerard Silva

    Curator

    Fleisher Art Memorial

     

    Dina’s spirit continues to inspire many young and emerging artists in the Philadelphia region, thanks to programs like the Wind Challenge at Fleisher Art Memorial. 

  • A Wind Challenge artist in 2019, Jessica Curtaz like Dina celebrates femininity through her art. Both are wives, mothers, daughters, artists, and sculptors. Multitasking is a conspicuous role women are forced to assume in our society and while this is a talent in and of itself, it is also an inadvertent virtue that enhances and manifests in both of their works. This exceptional point of view encourages them to pursue creativity as a means of expression and heightens their sensibilities in the art making process.

  • Fleisher Art Memorial, Wind Challenge Exhibition 2019
  • Both artists are reclaiming spaces and treating these spaces like puzzles: Where do these pieces fit? And it is this approach that makes their work unpredictable and complex. Abstract expressionist artists don’t predetermine every step of execution to create works of art. Instead they use the primal tools of instinct and emotional impulses to execute. Dina and Jessica utilize this approach in their art making, working and reworking their pieces until they resonate and the doubts of the artists are cast aside. Their techniques result in abstract, emotionally charged paintings and drawings: visually seductive at first but extremely sophisticated and carefully conceived with intricate layers.

     

    Through their sculptures and installations, assemblage comes into play and the artist becomes a designer of beauty in an abstract chess game of art making. Here, beauty is evident in a refined landscape of decay. Decay is a natural process, not an impairment, and both artists are determined to used this process to their advantage. Dina reclaims found objects in a state of deterioration, collecting and assembling pieces into an intricate sculpture, while Jessica crochets various pieces together to create an ephemeral landscape that will naturally decay.

  • "My drawings I approach as a series of moving puzzles, ones that are not just made up of pieces, but pieces within pieces, interacting in ways both intentional and not. I play with flow - the flow of shadow, of light, of water, of the direction something is drawn in. I play with abstraction and hyper-realism, light and reflection, surface and depth. In this way, my work is inspired by faceted glass, or how rippling water changes and moves, how it is transparent and substantive at the same time. Even those elements of my work that I am currently ignoring or overlooking are never static. I can only pay attention to so many specifics at one time. And drawings have a life of their own. Things happen whether I'm paying immediate attention to them or not. More than controlling every aspect of a drawing I set ideas in motion."
  • Cableknit 8, Graphite on gessoed paper, 22 x 22", 2012
  • 'In my more recent work, I take a practice often thought of as feminine domestic craft and bring it into...
    "In my more recent work, I take a practice often thought of as feminine domestic craft and bring it into public space, imposing my imagination and “feminine” perspective on the urban landscape. I crochet giant weeds, insects, real and imaginary creatures, creating oversized fantastical renditions of flora and fauna, that I install, with and without permission, on chain link fences, city lampposts, and, occasionally, gallery walls.
    My public installations play with scale, with subject, with context and location. I spend just as much time crocheting paper airplanes that will last less than 24 hour on a chain link fence as creating a giant garden for an interior space. I am interested in navigating this struggle between creating ephemeral works, in unexpected outdoor locations, and more solid, more permanent pieces." 
  • "I am interested in challenging how location equates to monetary value. What does it mean when a crocheted nasturtium is installed on a gallery wall versus when it appears outside that gallery on a chain link fence. I want to make art a part of people’s everyday lives. I want someone to be confronted with a seven foot crocheted praying mantis on their way to work, or for the fence around their parking lot to suddenly sprout giant dandelions. These pieces incorporate humor and escapism into an explicitly political feminist project, blending the banal with the fantastic, the domestic realm with the public sphere."
  • Download artist CV here~