Jeanne Jaffe

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Artist’s Statement
Inspired by an interest in anthropology, mythology, and psychology, my work explores how identity is forged from early pre-verbal experience through the later influences of language and culture.

In my earlier sculpture, I give concrete form to intangible sensations and barely remembered bodily experiences. This is accomplished by creating hybrid forms of mixed origins of experience – fusions of animate and inanimate worlds, simultaneously familiar yet strange. Body fragments, vegetative processes, and microscopic life fuse, mutate, and morph, and the resulting objects invite recognition while remaining mutable, suggestive, and indeterminate. Visceral experiences of longing, repulsion, fear, loss, curiosity, and discovery are elicited.

In my more recent installations such as “Little Red Riding Hood as a Crime Scene,” “Elegy for Tesla,” and “T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets,” popular folktales, history, and literature are reimagined through a contemporary lens and made into multi-sensory environments. In these installations, sculpture, videos, interactive elements, and animation create a space for exploring the implications of these known narratives and for reimagining new perspectives.

Most recently I am working on a stop motion animation, “Alice in Dystopia,” a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In this version, Alice and the Rabbit fall down the wrong rabbit hole into the contemporary world of 2020, with all of its environmental and societal ills, where the characters must find a way to confront the current crises and offer hope for renewal and change.

In all of my work different signifying systems of image, motion, language, and sound intertwine, highlighting and allowing us to reexamine different aspects of our internal and external experiences, the stories we have been told, and the assumptions we have internalized.

How we navigate multi layered experience, where signification and understanding is being endlessly reshaped, and how we create meaning and self-determination from the cacophony of sensation, memory, myth, and cultural history is the subject of all my work.

Jeanne Jaffe is a multi-disciplinary artist and a frequent visiting artist at Xian Academy of Fine Arts in China who lives in Florida with her husband and parrot Lilly. She is the recipient of grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, NEA, Virginia Groot Foundation, and Mid Atlantic/NEA, among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Michener Art Museum, Royal Scottish Academy of Edinburgh, Seokdang Museum of Art in Korea, and elsewhere. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art in America, The New York Times, and Sculpture Magazine.