Living Spaces: Art for Life

A St. Mary's Project

Spring 2000

In the hopes of reaching my audience in a direct and immediate manner, I make furniture. It is my belief that contemporary audiences require an art form that goes beyond the traditional format to engage them. After a day of surfing channels or browsing the web, the effectiveness of the visual image dwindles. Art that remains behind the doors of the gallery or museum is therefore at a disadvantage. The state of images in the world is such that artists, depending solely on visual communication, are entering into a contest of efficiency with the odds against them. Without a doubt, the mechanized contenders are less profound and subtle than the artist, but the problem rests in the nature of the viewer.

Primed by the pace of a world where time costs money, viewers are less and less interested or even capable of pondering an image at length. The consistent dehumanization of our environment cannot be expected to rest passively in the realms of cyberspace. Items of mass-production do little to augment the humanity of their users. Marketing strategies require that images ask as little as possible of their audience. They arrive pre-digested, targeting the calculated mean of possible consumers. Human traits are filtered and distorted in the name of profit. The will of the individual is of little importance. To reverse these trends, we must dispel the notion that buying power equals freedom of expression.

The preservation of our humanity must begin on a local scale. In the case of my art, the scale is as local as the body itself. My work is a demonstration of a personalized environment in both form and conception. By making furniture, I utilize both the physical and conceptual bond between humans and functional objects. The consequent ease of interaction comes at the sacrifice of traditional and outmoded means of art presentation. By calling upon the service of function, I hope to engage my viewers in an unmediated and original experience outside the limitations of both the gallery and e-technology. Because my work depends on the direct interaction of my viewers, the creative experience is shared between viewer and maker. Hopefully, these efforts to reclaim my own environment through art will serve as a catalyst for viewers to do the same.

-Jessica Braun


Artist Statement

Annotated Bibliography

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