Updated: Aug 8
Details lend both the greatest comedic punch and yet the softest hint of empathy in the ceramic pieces of Jennifer McCandless. In viewing her works in conjunction with her artist statement, there is clarity, playfulness, vulnerability, thoughtfulness, the sense of being serious without taking herself to seriously, and forgiveness manipulated into the clay forms. The interaction and feelings of judgment allow the viewer to experience McCandless' commentary on social issues related to body image, aging, feminism, identity, roles and collective social perception in a constructive and aesthetically delightful way. It allows important dialogues to occur without offensiveness or defensiveness, which in an era of political touchiness may offer the best chance for common ground, acceptance, democracy and social change.
McCandless' sensitivity to the human condition- to the experiences of ineptness, stereotyping, inadequacy and folly seem to be appropriately mediated in her manipulation of the materials (often stoneware). She physically grapples with these challenges and presents to her audience a confident confrontational piece that challenges and engages the viewer in a non-threatening way. In so doing, many of her viewers may find themselves identifying with the commentary she is trying to convey.