FRANCES JETTER--Sculpture and Original Prints for Sale. BIDDINGTON'S ART GALLERY--More Paintings and Sculpture.
Bronze Sculptor &
Social Commentary Printmaker
CREATIVE PROCESS visits the studio of
sculptor & editorial illustrator Frances Jetter
on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
"Frances Jetter's untitled bronze sculpture (Arc Woman) is at once humanoid and vegetal. Its podlike structure sprouts the roots and branches of a plant, yet it also bears a face where one might expect to find fruit. It rises and slumps back to earth as if completing a natural cycle of life, death and rebirth that governs all living things."--THE NEW YORK TIMES, Sunday, May 12, 2002, Art Review of "Body Language" at the Islip Art Museum by Helen A. Harrison
Frances Jetter: For many years I have made linocut prints and etchings whose subject matter is social and political commentary. My graphics have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Village Voice, Ms., The Nation and The Progressive. My grandfather was a union organizer; so I suppose strong political & social views are a family tradition.
Fat Man & Little Boy
Linocut Hand-printed on Seicho-sen Paper
included in the Print & Drawing Collection of
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
"Frances Jetter is a revolutionary...she uses the sword of satire for attacks on the corruption of power. But this is political/commercial art with a difference. The usual hallmark of such art is an emphasis on prettiness, and a certain plastic heroic quality. Like George Grosz, Jetter goes for the flip side: She focuses on the oppressor--the blind leading the blind; the NATO soldier with a machine gun loaded with missiles, his large innocent eyes looking amazed at what he is doing."--THE SEATTLE TIMES, "Jetter Specializes in Political Art" by staff art critic Delores Tarzan
Frances Jetter: The process of making linocuts is very sculptural. The carved blocks are like low-relief sculpture. Sometimes I find the flat print is a let down. So, it's natural that having worked in linocuts, I would gravitate toward sculpture.
Carved Linoleum Block for Skirt
with Cutting Tools
Frances Jetter: For my sculpture, I work in blue styrofoam. It gets all over the house. But I like to work with it. You can get great surface detail. Even the slender loops for this cast sculpture, Bed, were all made of thin styrofoam tubes. We had to cast this sculpture in many pieces and weld it all together working from my drawings to get the angles right. So, this was an extremely complex, time-consuming--that means costly--piece to produce. But I like its looping rhythm.
Frances Jetter: When I first began making bronzes, I used the foundry at the School for the Visual Arts, but it's closed now. You could do your own casting--it was marvelous. Now I go to Tallix where they cast the work for me under my direction. They're exceptionally skillful and cooperative--but I do miss the immediacy of doing it myself.
Frances Jetter: In making Bed, I used a thin (1/100th inch) sheet wax to help make the drapery surface of this sculpture. You melt the wax slightly with a hair dryer then apply it. The basic structure for the sculpture was styrofoam. Then I applied the softened wax to the horizontal area.
Frances Jetter: So each detail of a piece such as the hair of Untitled (Arc Woman) is cast, then welded into place. Then the surface is addressed: The patina of this piece is made it to resemble the soft texture of wax.
Frances Jetter: Some of my sculpture is cast in aluminum rather than bronze. I like aluminum because it's light weight; I can carry it around myself. But it's limiting as to what you can do with the surface color.
Frances Jetter: Sometimes a work will develop during the process of casting a piece. In Balanced on Nose the long support structure started out as a short venting gate. I decided to extend the gate and try to balance the piece. And I found it funny.
Balanced on Nose
Tall Bronze Sculpture, 74 inches high--1994
Frances Jetter: This bronze Woman Standing on Her Head is another carefully balanced piece--both figuratively and literally. The woman balances her huge torso on her tiny head like Atlas supporting the full weight of the world on his shoulders.
Frances Jetter: I like to look at sculpture by Medardo Rosso and Tony Cragg. I like Giacometti and try very hard not to look like him. At the moment, I mostly look at ancient Chinese vessels and at central African and Oceanic art.
Frances Jetter: The head clapper in Hanging Bell Torso is funny and sad at the same time. The clanging is the relentless racket of introspection.
Frances Jetter: Dress is a sort of figure--an old figure--almost like a discarded skin, something that was formerly herself. I wanted the bronze to hang from an actual, cheesy wire hanger. Short of casting the hanger in titanium, this was not going to be possible. Still, we managed to make it very thin. This bronze sculpture gives the illusion of floating. The shimmering patina of Dress is achieved by electroplating the surface and gilding it in 24K gold.
Bronze Sculpture, 64 inches high, 1998
Frances Jetter: My sculptures are definite presences to me. They epitomize the belief in lost causes--the merger of futility & possibility. The monumental weight of these earthborn bronze bodies is contrasted with their lightness of being, as airborne embodiments of hope and desire.
View Frances Jetter metal sculpture, linocut prints & original etchings
offered in BIDDINGTON'S CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY.
Price Range: $800-$30,000
Frances Jetter Selected Exhibitions:
"Body Language", Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY, 2002
"Bronze Bodies", Broadway Windows, New York University, NYC, 2002
"Politics & Conflicts", House of Docs Gallery, Sundance Film Festival, UT, 2002
"A Century of Women Illustrators", San Jose State University Art Galleries, CA, 2001
"Move 2", New Image Art, Los Angeles
"La Jeune Gravure Contemporaine", Paris
"Drawn to Politics", Allegheny College, PA
"The Women's Room", Parson's School of Design, NY
"The Art of Politics", San Jose State Art Galleries, CA
Davidson Galleries, Seattle (One Person Show)
Savannah College of Art & Design (One Person Show)
"Artists of the Nation" traveling show including Harvard University
and Columbia University
Frances Jetter Selected Collections:
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard, University, MA
Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
New York Public Library Print Collection, NYC
Grinnell College Print & Drawing Collection, IA
Frances Jetter Illustration Awards & Publications:
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)--fellowship for printmaking (2003)
As well as:
Graphis, Print, Communication Arts, Society of Publication Designers, Society of Newspaper Designers, Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Outstanding American Illustrators Today--Tokyo, and Two Hundred Years of American Illustration
Frances Jetter has served on the faculty of School of Visual Arts since 1979 and visiting artist at:
Smithsonian Resident Associate Program
Rhode Island School of Design
Montclair State University
Savannah College of Art & Design
Ringling School of Art & Design
Virginia Commonwealth University
University of Connecticut
University of Buffalo
Narae Design Culture, Seoul, Korea
ABOUT THIS FEATURE
CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery & upmarket, online art & antiques auction--we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.
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