Memories are often dulled by time and my work is intended to preserve these vital experiences against further decay. As a ceramic artist, I use porcelain to create stylized botanical sculptures that are displayed on the wall and wearable pieces to adorn individuals. My porcelain bouquets express complex emotion, create conceptual portraits, and engage with individuals physically and emotionally. I establish connections between the past and present through researching intimate family memories and the cultures of my ancestors, to further emphasize an object’s ability to have a significant impact on the lives of individuals who experience my work.
I create art through labor-intensive processes by meticulously manipulating each hand-built leaf and petal. Objects and symbols ability to cary contextual weight, fascinates me. Therefore, I add numeric and conceptual meanings alongside historically researched facts by referencing specifics of my ancestors capitalizing on the themes of romanticism and floriography. When starting a new porcelain structure, I begin investigating my own family history. Like many Americans, I have a unique cultural identity. I grew up learning about the cultures of my ancestors; from the way the Meskwaki respected the land, to the way Charlemagne united the European people, and the honor with which William Wallace and his fellow Scotsmen fought. The importance of historical preservation was instilled within me at a young age.
Over the centuries culture and understanding of etiquette and object symbolism dramatically change; for example at the turn of the century nostalgia was a negative emotional experience and flowers were a way of passing secret notes. The victorians believed each flower had its own meaning. In my work, combining specific flowers together allows me to speak without ever using words. Creating my botanical porcelain structures allows me to communicate diverse emotions. In the eighteenth century nostalgia, however exaggerated, was considered a horrible disease that no solider wanted to be labeled with. I strive to create art that challenges the negative association of perceived mental disease and complex human experiences. While today nostalgia is a validated emotion that I reference within each of my art works. I want my wearable porcelain works to encourage those that have been perceived and labeled as diseased and different, to feel confident to stand tall and allow their beautiful souls to shine.
Memories are the most valuable possession we will ever own; we are essentially the product of our memories. The psychological impact on an individual who is no longer in possession of those memories feels disconnected, disoriented, and can be devastating. I have auditory and visual processing disorders that affect how my brain processes information. I am at an increased risk for developing alzheimer’s and dementia, already prevalent in my immediate family. We define ourselves by our past experiences and the memories associated with them. Not being able to remember precious moments in life is a terrifying reality to face. My art is a way of preserving with attentive detail, my own memories and emotions, while revitalizing and honoring the traditions of my ancestors.
Ashley Jeneé is an artist who communicates complex human emotion through delicate porcelain arrangements. The subjects of her works are closely tied to her deep connection to the earth and referencing the hardships her ancestors experienced through beauty. These works often include fine floral/botanical sculptures adorning larger wall or wearable designs. Jeneé received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Austin Peay State University, a post-baccalaureate from the University of Florida, and a residency at La Meridiana International School of Ceramics in Tuscany. Jeneé has primarily created her porcelain artworks in Tennessee, Massachusetts and Florida with her work exhibited both nationally and internationally.