Jennifer Degges

Artist Statement

Everything vibrates with grotesque detail about life, death and the effects of time. The monuments and busts in my work reference stillness, deception and historical content.

I fetishize the female form by focusing on certain body parts through scale, distortion and zooming in and out of focus.

Autobiography is a touchstone, a personal zone from which I reflect on the essential paradoxes engendered in human experience strength and vulnerability, chaos and order, beauty and the grotesque, the will to create and to destroy, the inevitability of change and the desire to hold on to a pattern of personal myth and memory.

Most of the current work I produce is started with a feminine face, based on the women related to me. As a result, they become personal archetypes. There is a quality of ego or fascination with my own physicality in comparison to these feminine faces.

I try on different personas empathizing with the subject through comparisons with my own facial expressions, obsessions with looking in the mirror and practicing different mannerisms.

The strength of the work lies in paradoxVulnerability and violenceThe genuine and the carnivalesqueThe lovely and the grossThe creative impulse and destructionErosion and monumentalityVulgarity and sweetness

The monstrosity and roughness finds balance in a moment of sweetness: the placid and angelic expression on the girls face.

This moment is fleeting, and therefore even more precious.

The expression quickly dissolves as one moves around the sculpture. Her face becomes a facade, her body is distorted and incomplete: her skin is stretched onto a cage-like armature

This becomes a source of formative experiences and a personal narrative in harmony with the mythologized romanticism and grittiness of the South. This is a well from which I draw my strongest images.

-- Jennifer Degges

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