My studio practice is varied. I have established a framework of categories over the years which I continually revisit. A major focus of my work has been the figure, an interest ignited in my earlier career working in fashion photography. I refer to art photography of nudes by notable photographers, as my source material. I am drawn to the poses of women in these images because they are unexpected and artful. I am interested in creating modernist figurative forms that evoke the contemporary woman. I throw forms that relate to body parts and use a method of geometric abstraction to build the sculptures. The result is figuration that straddles the line between realism and abstraction, my own hybrid style. At times I explore biomorphic territory and vessels with roots in organic matter that take on an expressive human quality. I delight in this ambiguity, this duality, and this transformation.
Another area of my practice has been devoted to activism, driven by historical narratives, feminism and social justice. For this work, I am concerned with the dialogue surrounding the many forms of social construct. I am fascinated by the complexities of identity and hidden narratives that highlight unspoken truths. Some of the work is confrontational, aiming to destabilize the viewer in the hope that it will elicit a call to social change. The subject matter can be uplifting too. Narrative sculpture and installations using multiples of iconic imagery fall into this category.
Finally, I am a curious soul. I love learning, and therefore experiment with different clay bodies, building methods and surface treatments to examine and discover new methodology. I will often create a series of vessels to flesh out an idea and then apply what I have learned to broaden my practice. During these periods of exploration, I strive to let go of my expectations to unearth something fresh worth exploring.
Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong is a ceramic artist whose sculptures and vessels have a fresh sophistication and modern aesthetic that link fine art with craft. Before devoting herself full-time to ceramics in 2001, Ms. Armstrong spent nearly 20 years as a freelance fashion stylist/editor in Manhattan. Her interest in fashion photography fueled her focus on figurative sculpture. Now 20 years into her ceramic career, she has reoriented her focus to the vessel, exploring materials and experimenting with surface treatments. Her large-scale wall sculptures of delicate porcelain wings for which she is known, continue to evolve. Ms. Armstrong’s talent has been recognized and her work critically acclaimed. She received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism in 2008, and was granted prestigious Emerging Artist Awards from American Style Magazine in 2008, Ceramics Monthly in 2007, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2005. She was awarded First Prize in Sculpture in 2008 and 2006 Art of the Northeast USA Exhibition at Silvermine Guild Arts Center (New Canaan, CT) and at the “Bruce Museum Arts Festival” 2013 (Greenwich, CT). Her porcelain sculptures are held in many private collections, have been exhibited regionally and nationally at venues including Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, MA), San Angelo Museum of Art (San Angelo, TX), Katonah Museum of Art (Katonah, NY), Lincoln Arts & Cultural Foundation (Lincoln, CA), Mesa Contemporary Arts (Mesa, AZ), Wayne Art Center (Wayne, PA), Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center (Dowell, MD), Blue Print Gallery (Dallas, TX), BWAC Gallery (Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY), Phoenix Gallery (NYC) Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), Rockland Center for the Arts (West Nyack, NY), Clay Art Center (Port Chester, NY), Westport Arts Center (Westport, CT), Artspace (New Haven, CT) and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT). Her work is included in Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base (Brooklyn, NY). Ms. Armstrong holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She is an Adjunct Professor of Ceramics at Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY). She lives in Lordship, a beach community minutes away from her studio in Bridgeport, CT.