About the Artist > Artist Statement
Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong
Gesture is what interests me. Body language is beguiling. Gesture naturally conveys movement and can be passive or submissive, playful or seductive, regal and proud. Gesture can tell a story.
I am interested in the formal aspects of figurative sculpture, influenced by my earlier career in fashion photography, as well as the potential for narrative expression in my work. Storytelling has become an integral part of my studio practice. I am interested in subject matter that is indicative of the times we live in, pertaining to women’s issues, feminism, climate change and gun violence. I often examine the dark side of human nature.
I am the daughter of a fashion designer and the influence of sewing and pattern making is evident in the signature technique I developed to build my sculpture. Using porcelain, forms are thrown, cut apart, altered and reassembled using black slip. The surface is sponged smooth, dried, then sanded, to enhance the “stitched" effect of the scored black lines. I use these lines to an illustrative effect and sometimes the lines can express meaning.
Some sculptures are methodically planned using photographs as my source material, while others flow spontaneously from within. I remain open-minded, responding to my materials and the evolution of the creative process, searching for the unexpected in a sculpture. Sometimes I explore abstract or biomorphic territory and vessels with roots in organic matter take on an expressive human quality. I delight in this ambiguity, this duality, and this transformation.
Recent work includes installations constructed using mold making and hand building techniques. These works reside in the realm of art as activism. Today, in many parts of the world, advances in technology and communication collide with traditional religions, cultures and customs in patriarchal societies. Closer to home, issues of human trafficking and domestic violence compromise our tenuous hold on feminism, the extent of which is underestimated and misunderstood. By examining these divergences, I address issues of love, family, conflict, religion and gender inequality in my work.
I recently completed a large-scale installation of hundreds of pairs of porcelain wings, titled “United” layered with video animation to create a work that grapples with how our contemporary culture contributes and is culpable for the rise in gun violence in the USA.
Some of my sculptures and installations are confrontational and that is my intent: to inspire curiosity, raise awareness, and incite positive action.