Juliana Wisdom, MFA 2020

March 11-14, 2020

Opening Reception: March 13th, 6-8pm

Janus Planter (detail), 2019, ceramic, 65" x 24"x 14"

Vegas Column, 2019, ceramic and mixed media, variable

Artist Statement     

In my current body of work, I am exploring the translation and interpretation of the so-called Western aesthetic canon: antiquity, rococo, modernism, and neoclassicism, specifically within architecture and decorative arts. I am interested in the convergence of artificiality and decadence in loci like museums, demolition sites, cemeteries, Las Vegas, and archaeological sites. Researching and questioning the development of anthropocentric material value and history, and how it weaves into and at times dictates cultural relationships and power dynamics, by its very nature drives the work towards an eschatological gallows humor. Perhaps it has something to do with the influence of the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and climate change. 

Since moving to Philadelphia, my interest in material ties between history and the present day has been amplified. In comparing ancient ruins to the ruins existing within the city, the questions presented become much more dynamic. What is being restored? What is being torn down? What is being built? What is left to decay? What is the value of physical remnants of communities and cultures? What does it mean to create “valuable” objects in a world of disposable consumables? I question the relationships between the material and the social by fluctuating between material craftsmanship and the immediacy of constructing through experimentation and play.

With humor, absurdity, and genuine care, I want to present a world where we can grapple with the past, and accept responsibility for the future, both while embracing levity and complexity.