My Female Gaze –
I place women on a pedestal. Powerful, poetic, alluring and provocative, my figurative sculpture pays homage to the contemporary woman.
An area of my practice has been devoted to activism driven by historical narratives, feminism, social justice, and my (hidden) African American ancestry. 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. I am interested in cultural hybridity and Humanism. It is through this lens that I create my figurative sculpture.
Mirrors and reflections have crept into my work which I use as a visual device to explore identity further. I use the mirrored face as a tool for self-reflection or as a vehicle for the viewer to embody and identify directly with the sculpture. In Mirror, Mirror, her mirrored face reflects into the mirror infinitely. While the mirrored faces, outward and convex, adds a cyborg- y effect, which is enhanced further by the expression of my figurative style hints at AI and the technology of the future.
Recently, I have used symbols borrowed from mythology, cultural narratives, and oral stories to add layers of meaning to my work. I love the way Holbein handles symbology in his paintings. Feathers, dogwood flowers, a book, all hold both personal and universal meaning. Deer Woman is a symbol of feminine power in Native American tribes and you can find similar stories in Celtic mythology. She’s a badass.
The idea of a breastplate first appeared on the sculpture, The Journey, drawn in glimmering gold luster with markings borrowed from a feline. The markings also appear on the back of The Unknown and are unique to each being. I imagine all women have a metaphorical mechanism that acts as a breastplate for self-protection, self-preservation and to keep our power safe. When I made What We Carry, I was thinking of the beautiful armor and decorative metal work of the Renaissance and my life’s journey, but also in the collective sense, women’s life journey. The dogwood flowers represented reliability, durability, and affection in the Victorian era. The hanging shards of mica and beads, fragments of our lives. When I tried to fire the piece a third time, pushing the temperature beyond its limit to achieve an improved glaze result, a slit opened above the heart. I chose to leave it as is, feeling the universe was contributing to the work.
– Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong