Forest Through the Trees
My porcelain slip casting work has always been about how we create and modify our identity based on feedback and input from a socially networked world. Every day we can be someone else based on our needs, whims, crowdsourcing, the media. We have the ability to change ourselves however we need to just to survive that day. One day you can stand out, one day you can fade into the background.
While in Puebla Mexico in the Summer of 2015 I was inspired by the traditional hand-built sculptures that you would see everywhere. Arbol de vida - Tree of Life, some were small and some very large, many had biblical stories retold such as Adam and Eve, or other to physically represent family lineage. In nearby Oaxaca, Mexico in the ceiling at the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a massive plaster relief tree of life with figures created representing each person on a branch. I wondered what my own tree of life would look like, even with so many unknowns. I imagined myself climbing from branch to branch looking for where I belonged.
As I started to work on this show The Forest Through the Trees at Jordan Faye Contemporary, I thought of what my own tree would look like and how I could use it to learn some things about my own identity. But again, I went back to the mental image of me climbing branch to branch. And so I started to build my tree, and a few more, for this show. I was thinking through the narrative I wanted my figures to tell.
Jeff Herrity is a DC-based artist working in porcelain sculpture and installation. He worked in the Internet industry for many years before returning to the Corcoran College of Art + Design where he received his BFA Masters in Art Education. He has taught art and technology classes at the Lab School of Washington as well as organizing teacher professional development and the well-known Power of Art/Rauschenberg Day - a collaboration between the Lab School and The Rauschenberg Foundation. Jeff is currently a member of Red Dirt Studios. Herrity's work has been included in many exhibitions throughout the mid-Atlantic region and recently had his first solo exhibition at Hillyer Art Space.