My research investigates the construction of individual identity as prescribed by societal notions of value and binaries. I pull reference material from popular culture ephemera and media imagery especially related to gender, beauty, and material desire. As a person who participates in contemporary culture and who has grown up during the “information age”, I am often conflicted about my participation in said culture and I am eerily aware of its influence on my perceptions of reality and how it has shaped who I am. I can’t deny that I am a young, white, cis, female; an identity that presents me with a specific set of privileges. It is important for me to be critical of the privileges that allow me to enjoy a bougie lifestyle involving a lot of yoga and chai lattes. I often use humor, specifically in the titling of my work, as a way to poke fun of myself and the culture of a 30-something millennial. My sculptures and installations aim to recreate a feeling of cognitive dissonance, a psychological space that is simultaneously critical and indulgent. I think of the work as a reflection of my current head space, so it is, in a sense, autobiographical, and I use the work as an opportunity to position myself within the cultural climate of the moment. The work functions as a series of vignettes, marking a particular time in my life, a moment in culture, and how I am personally reacting and responding to societal pressures.This research manifests itself in the form of abstract ceramic sculptures that question the established hierarchy that places craft below art. I work in an interdisciplinary mode that questions preconceived ideas of craft. I utilize “crafty” materials, not just clay, but mixed media that includes faux fur, acrylic pearls, Mod Podge, and glitter. I finish my ceramic objects with glazes I formulate in the lab, but also love to cover the work in kitschy Jungle Gem glazes that are perfectly advertised as “Art in a Jar!”. In contrast to these commercially driven materials, I draw from a long history of sculptural abstraction. I explore representation through the idea of formlessness. This exploration is inspired by George Bataille’s concept of “l’informe”. Formlessness can be used to describe an object that is mobile or fluid enough to evade classification and meaning. The formless results in a blurring of categories and identification, and this concept is used to ground my investigation of identity and value.
Jessika Edgar (b.1987) is a ceramic artist based in Metro Detroit. Her research focuses on concepts related to identity and value through an investigation in contemporary craft and sculptural abstraction. Raised in both Western Massachusetts and Southern California, Jessika has an MFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art (2011), an MA in Studio Art (2009) and BA in Studio Art (2008) from California State University Northridge.
Jessika has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Regis Center for the Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI, Ceramic Research Center and Brickyard Gallery, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, India, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX and Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and Gyeonggi Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Icheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea. She has been awarded residencies at Guldagergaard: International Ceramic Research Center, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Wassaic Projects, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and A.I.R. Vallauris.