Janis Mars Wunderlich
Upper Arlington, OH
1994 MFA Ceramics The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 3.96 GPA
1992 BFA Ceramics (with second emphasis: Printmaking), Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, Cum Laude
2013 SOFA CHICAGO, Sherrie Gallerie,
2012 SOFA CHICAGO, Sherrie Gallerie,
2011 SOFA CHICAGO, Sherrie Gallerie,
As an accomplished artist and passionate mother, I'm continually responding to the flow of family life as I balance and prioritize the many pulls within my heart. My greatest creative clarity comes during the ups and downs of family life, and I use my art to process and express all of the fluctuating contrasts that unfold each day in my intimate family relationships. These inspirational moments fuel my soul and keep me grounded, whole, and able to persevere through life's challenges.
I've come to realize that nurturing others is the structure on which my individual identity is built. Nurturing and protecting are inherent roles within me, symbolized in my imagery by a blend of human/animal imagery to express the maternal instincts mothers possess. The surfaces of my sculptures are adorned with clinging creatures, delicately interwoven to create a dress which symbolizes the many complex roles women wear and the energetic facets and folds of family relationships which sustain and define us.
It's very inspiring to discover common threads in ancient sculptural works of art from diverse civilizations and cultures. Femininity and nurturing is a dominant subject matter tenderly represented throughout our visual history. Beginning with our prehistoric origins, Venus figurines depict the power of the nurturer, and both Eastern and Western Cultures have elegant and incredibly detailed examples of ceramic figurines depicting intimate moments of family life. Traditional Native American storyteller figurines poignantly depict expressions of nurturing that are relevant and vital for humanity in every age, especially in our contemporary world.
My current artistic imagery explores the female experience of being overcome or overwhelmed by family matters, and the concept of gaining strength through enduring the stress of the heavy burdens that we may find upon ourselves in our life experiences. Like a body builder or marathon runner, we must persistently endure waves of sweat, exhaustion, and excruciating pain as our mental fibers are torn and expanded to reveal an exhilarating freshly created level of strength and endurance.
Issues of emotional and spiritual well-being are also expressed in my images, as a mother so desperately seeks peace, solace and healing for her family in increasingly turbulent times. It is a constant search to find moments of truth, light, and clarity as we make mistakes, fall, and rise again. As the structure of my own family evolves, it causes us to navigate new ebbs and flows in our family dynamic as we journey through new life experiences.
Most recently, family challenges have placed me on an unprecedented path of self rediscovery, where I'm drawn to the miraculous strength and complexity of the bodies’ interior systems. I'm creating highly detailed surfaces on large scale figures, revealing skeletal and vascular systems that pulse and flow through the curves of the body. As I carve veins, muscles, and bones, the interior mysteries push through to enliven the surface. Strangely beautiful, these vital inner workings appear vulnerable and unprotected as they become exposed on the exterior, but at second glance they reveal the powerful structure empowering us, showing the great potential strength contained within each of us. Added animal antlers and horns suggest strength forged from the wisdom of our past experiences can create a tool of defense, protection, and empowerment for the future. I am willing to take risks in hopes of discovering new pools of renewable spiritual and emotional strength from within me which will emerge to sustain and fulfill me and my family.