Artist Statement

I use hand-made inks, herbs, pigments, and gold leaf on paper, as well as print and painting media, to create visual essays and drawings in the tradition of illuminated manuscripts. However, my explicit intent is to expand the scope of calligraphic illumination’s cultural reliquary beyond that of anthropocentrism. These ‘Gaia Illuminations’ are chimeras of ecological relationship theory, practiced and recorded systems of knowledge and magic, and mythology (both invented and inherited). I investigate nature/culture dualism through the lens of deep ecology, and face my own hopes and skepticisms through layered symbolic and totemic images, organic textures, and text. Language, aesthetic and the sensory are crucial partners with, ideally, no hierarchy in the development of my work— in this way I seek to honor the intellectual, the empathic and the experiential potential of human creativity in my efforts to investigate our interrelatedness to other beings and our mutual agency. The words in my work are poems, nonsense, academic writing and mysterious meaning of material, both trying very hard to be read and understood, and defying casual decoding.

 

I also dedicate myself to social practice around bookmaking, letterpress printing, broadsides, poetry and the practice and teaching of yoga. This work forms the foundations of my income, and also manifests as significant volunteer hours that extend into community mutual aid, collaborative support of arts and ecological nonprofit organizations and activism, and anti-hierarchical, freely shared resources that are both artistic and regenerative. This is the basis of my nascent venture, the In Situ Polyculture Commons residency space, that I am creating with my partner and husband, the artist Owen Schuh, as well as with the collaboration of our extended communities.

The Aesthetics of the Felt World

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My MFA Thesis Manuscript is bound and published by the Arcadia Fine Arts library at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This writing and research continues, using the published manuscript as an outline for additional scholarship and creative work. 

www.candacejensen.com

Artist • Writer • Calligrapher • Spiritual Ecologist

New England & Philadelphia

Candace Jensen