Where is This Going? by Jennifer Rose

Preliminary drawing for the Invasive Species installation at Carneal Simmons Gallery.

Preliminary drawing for the Invasive Species installation at Carneal Simmons Gallery.

The future of clay in the art world.

 Some gallerists and dealers freak out when I say the word, “craft”. In the past it has been whispered in the same way that someone might utter a slur. For many in the art world, “craft” still brings to mind low-concept, high-function objects like a beautifully knitted scarf or tasteful dinnerware. However, the recent deluge of articles in the New York TimesL.A. Times, and countless critical blogs shifts the tone from one of patronizing towards craft, to a chagrined surprise at the discovery of conceptual depth in non-traditional approaches to the craft media.  Who knew, right? 

Historically clay’s significance in the art world has only been elevated when exhibited by non-ceramic artists. For example, I noticed the status of clay changed when Ai Weiwei exhibited Sunflower Seeds at the Tate in 2010. This show, and Ai Weiwei’s grand persona, sent a jolt through the art world, and spawned a wave of ceramic experimentation. Weiwei’s use of porcelain to discuss social change and individuality was poignant precisely because of the preciousness of porcelain in the Chinese culture.  It’s worth noting that Judy Chicago’s brilliant feminist work, The Dinner Party, did not cause a widespread revival in craft among the fine art world.  Is it because the medium was packaged into its usual presentation, despite having a meaty conceptual bite? 

Time will tell if our current love of clay is a fad or if it is another wall that we are shedding in our move toward a globalized community.  Boundaries everywhere are falling, and why shouldn’t the exclusion of craft fall too? 

In the mean time, I have plans for my work.  I don’t want to be a historian of craft, documenting its past in the not-so-vague reference to vessel.  I want my clay to push forward and leave fresh marks of form and surface. I want to see my work hanging from the ceiling and the walls, rejecting the table and pedestal altogether. Most of all, I want to see my thoughts communicated to an audience through whichever medium I choose.

What is Success? by Jennifer Rose

In You We Trust    floor installation. Terra Cotta, gold paint    In You we Trust  is a collaborative project between Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld where we made 2,000 golden clay medallions to symbolize the 2,000 children trafficked on the streets of Dallas each year.

In You We Trust floor installation. Terra Cotta, gold paint

In You we Trust is a collaborative project between Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld where we made 2,000 golden clay medallions to symbolize the 2,000 children trafficked on the streets of Dallas each year.

What is a successful artist?

As a mother, an artist, and a full-time professor I get that nagging feeling so many times.  That feeling that you need to be in the studio but you really should be spending quality time with my family.  Luckily, my daughter is ten so she is able to do most things on her own. I am doubly lucky that I have an incredibly supportive husband and I feel that we truly share the parenting and household duties as equals.  Still, that doesn’t keep me from doubting that I am sacrificing too much motherhood for the sake of art…. Or vice versa. 

Maybe it is that nagging feeling that has made me take on such enormous, socially conscious projects. If I was doing “important work” it would be ok to spend long hours in the studio, right? In the past two years I have completed two major projects requiring literally thousands of art pieces and major community outreach.  One project raised over $25,000 for veterans and the other raised awareness of human trafficking in Dallas, TX.  Both works garnered much media attention and, more importantly, each project was cheered on by my tiny daughter.  I was proud to include her in the making of pieces for both these installations, and when she quickly lost interest in studio work, she assigned herself the duty of “refreshment organizer”.  She made homemade chocolate chip cookies when I had groups of volunteers in the studio and took orders for water and iced tea.  She took flyers about the project to school and told her unsuspecting art teacher about the exhibitions that her mom was doing.

I knew that she enjoyed helping, but it wasn’t until both projects were squared away and we were heavy into the doldrums of school that I realized how much of an impact I had on her.  Stuffed deep into her school backpack I found a practice essay for the standardized test that Texas students must take in the fourth grade.  The topic was, “Write about someone who has used their imagination to make the world a better place.”  She wrote about me.  She wrote about ME.

 There are many ways to measure success as mother/artist but it is difficult to find that sweet spot where it all comes together and balances out.  I found success when my 10-year old girl understood that ideas are currency and art really can change the world.

Invasive Species: New Work by Jen Rose by Jennifer Rose

ROY trumpet pops show card.jpg

I am very excited to announce my solo exhibition, Invasive Species, at Carneal Simmons Gallery this spring. I hope you can join me for the opening reception April 7, 5:30-8pm. For the past six months I worked furiously in the studio to prepare over twelve new porcelain installations for this show.  If you follow me on social media you may have seen snapshots of work in progress but I can't wait to unveil the entire exhibition. New experiments include black porcelain, a large-scale mobile with 1,200 porcelain pieces, and experiments with translucency and color.

Studio Visits by Jennifer Rose

Studio Visits

Marian Lefeld and Arienne Lepretre discuss Marian's recent work.

As artists, we spend most of our time alone in the studio with nothing but our tools and our thoughts. Inviting others in who know our language, are interested in the process and can deliver constructive criticism is a way to stand outside ourselves and see our work with fresh eyes.  

This summer I was invited to be a part of a studio critique group with Marian Lefeld, Anna Membreno, and Arienne Lepretre. Once every few weeks a member of our group hosts a critique session in their studio to discuss current work and ideas. The experience has been invaluable to me as an artist and it has energized my studio practice, invited me to entertain other directions for my work, and given me practice speaking about my current work and process. The conversation always begins with the artwork and unfolds into professional practices, current issues in the Dallas creative community, and advice on everything from helpful apps to accounting.  Most recently, we invited John Spriggins to be a guest at the critique to add a new voice to our group.  I look forward to these visits and I’m eager to see how this group of powerful, supported women navigates the Dallas art scene.

There is always coffee and snacks!

John Spriggins and Arienne discuss studio practice.

John Spriggins and Arienne discuss studio practice.

Galaxies In The Making by Jennifer Rose

I have a bit of pesky surgery coming up that will keep me from doing heavy lifting in the studio so I’m trying to plan ahead.  I really love the Galaxy series that I have been working on and, since I can’t work on the wheel after next week, I’m making as many disks as possible now.  Each piece is thrown as a flat plate on the potter’s wheel and then trimmed to clean up the back.  So far I have fifty blanks to work with and half of the are already in the kiln! Soon it will be glaze-time.

I have a grouping of galaxies on display right now at the Carneal Simmons Gallery.  I hope you can make it to the summer show to see them in person.

Trump Yourself by Jennifer Rose


Trump Yourself, will be on display at 500X Gallery, 500 Exposition Ave, Dallas Texas from May 6 through May 28, 2017. The opening reception is Saturday, May 6 from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Gallery hours are Saturday-Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Trump Yourself is a constructed environment that involves a seven-foot cloud sculpture, sixty feather boas, five pounds of imitation gold leaf flakes and Communist choir music. Audience members are invited to “Trump themselves” by walking through a shower of feather boas coated in gold flakes.  Here are a few images of the piece in progress.