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Art In Unusual Places: Jenni Ward

originally published: 09/20/2015

Art In Unusual Places: Jenni Ward

Jenni Ward is an artist from California whose mission is to share the beauty she sees in the natural world through her art.  Using clay as her primary medium, she builds in parts and assembles the pieces into ephemeral arrangements in nature.  A recent installation of The Bone Series was done in New Jersey at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on and around a shipwreck named The Dykes.

The bone series sculptures are abstract interpretations of biological sea dwelling creatures that may have had fleshy fins or appendages and these bone structures are all that remains. This In the Field installation involved taking six sculptures underwater and documenting them in this environment.

“Using bones as a reference in my work alludes to concepts of decay and renewal, the past and the present, interior structures and exterior forms,” explained Ward. “The shipwrecks these pieces were placed on share the same references as their disintegrating structures become an artificial reef for new growth to thrive on.”

These images are from the first underwater photo shoot of her work, but previously her sculpture has been placed in creeks, on beaches, in tide pools, redwood groves, and in rock cracks. “I’m always looking for interesting spaces that I use for inspiration and I can return the work to,” she said.  “Much of my inspiration comes from the ocean, so it only made sense to attempt to return my work to the sea.”

“I currently live in California but I grew up in New Jersey and we spent many summers diving the wrecks off the Jersey Shore,” continued Ward. “For this project I leaned on the experience of both my mom, Beth Dalzell,  who is an avid diver and Herb Segars who photographed the work. Between the two of them, they have logged thousands of dives off the New Jersey Shore, so we discussed how I wanted the pieces to be shot and they chose the right wreck for the dives. This particular wreck still has a lot of structure intact, so we were able to use that to our advantage in placing the pieces on the wreck.”

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 The artwork was then brought back to the surface so it can be exhibited alongside the photos of them in their ‘natural’ environment. The pieces will then be for sale during future exhibitions or in Ward’s online shop.

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