Jennifer McCandless

Artist Statement

My ceramic sculptures use humor and satirical narratives to challenge the viewer's perspectives on constructions of identity. The pieces offer a social critique of how we interpret body image, of how we interact with one another, and how we see ourselves. My fascination with human behavior and issues of interaction is cultivated in my study of figure, grounded in satirical narrative. The expressive quality of the clay is used to take dark personal realities or criticisms and offer a sympathetic or playful view of the individuals sculpted. The lively individuals represented in my works embody the multiplicities of female experience including the mother's strength, body image, beauty standards, marriage, and the relationships of humanity in nature. I am aiming to create a polyphony of voices, celebrating the mundane, the grotesque, the unnoticed, the inner female self at odds with the world.-- Jennifer McCandless


Jennifer McCandless received her BFA in Sculpture from Otis/Parsons School of Art and Design (1990) and her MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1993). She taught Ceramics and Sculpture at Wayne State University for 6 years, beginning through graduate levels. She is currently Art Department Chair, Curator and Director of the Mercy Gallery and a Nichols Fellow in Art at Loomis Chaffee in CT. Jennifer has exhibited nationally and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, The Palmer Fellowship 2011-2015 and the Skowhegan Fellowship. Her extensive exhibition history includes shows at the National Sculpture Society, the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, The Lemberg Gallery, the Housatanic Museum, the John Sly Ely Museum, the Elmhurst Art Museum and the Hyde Park Art Center.