Jessica Burnam

July 7–30, 2017


Abstracting and distorting elements of the body, Jessica Burnam creates sculptures and drawings that explore themes of metamorphosis and re-emergence, growth and decay, natural systems and fantastic abnormalities. She builds bizarre environments and dreamscapes for these bodies to dwell, creating unexpected juxtapositions between the ancient and the futuristic, the biomorphic and the artificial, the familiar and the ambiguous. To heighten these contrasts, she employs a wide range of industrial, found, and organic materials in her work. She is fascinated by science fiction, the symbolism of boats and of ladders, and by all manner of small and significant things: seeds and rocks,test tubes and pottery shards, cold glass and little buds that bristle.

This exhibition features the sculpture of “Vessel,” accompanied by “Anomaly Drawings + Etchings.” “Vessel” is a hybrid of many elements, simultaneously referencing boats and spacecraft, rock formations and cathedral-like interiors. Within and surrounding the vessel, abstracted bodies or “passengers” occupy its berths and naves, reefs and crannies. The vehicle is itself an entity, an oversized organ, a community. Done in India ink and in drypoint, “Anomaly Drawings + Etchings” reference abstracted bodily systems, ecosystems, and astronomical systems in balance and in deviation.

Jessica Burnam received her BA from the University of Virginia in 2015 and was the recipient of the Aunspaugh Post-Baccalaureate Fine Art Fellowship at the University of Virginia (2015-16). She was an Artist-in-Residence at Anderson Ranch (fall 2016) and currently holds a studio practice in Mount Rainier, MD.