The Featured Artist Series is in partnership with Gasher Journal's forthcoming print issue, AFTER: A Collection of Ekphrastic Writing and Art.
Each month, we will feature an artist here and invite writers to submit creative writing in reaction to the art showcased. Select ekphrastic writings will be featured alongside the art at the gallery showcase at the Ana Mendieta Gallery at The University of Iowa May 6th - May 18th.
Submit creative responses to the featured artist's work to PRESS @ GASHERJOURNAL . C O M with the Subject line listing the month and genre. For example: MAY_Poetry.
October Artist: Jennifer Ling Datchuk
Jennifer Ling Datchuk is an artist born in Warren, Ohio and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is an exploration of her layered identity – as a woman, a Chinese woman, as an “American,” as a third culture kid. Trained in ceramics, Datchuk works with porcelain and other materials often associated with traditional women’s work, such as textiles and hair, to discuss fragility, beauty, femininity, intersectionality, identity, and personal history. Her practice evolved from sculpture to mixed media as she began to focus on domestic objects and the feminine sphere. Handwork and hair both became totems of the small rituals that fix, smooth over, and ground women’s lives. Through these materials, she explores how Western beauty standards influenced the East, how the non-white body is commodified and sold, and how women’s – globally, girls’ – work is still a major economic driver whose workers still struggle for equality.
Datchuk holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. She has received grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, travel grant from Artpace, and the Linda Lighton International Artist Exchange Program to research the global migrations of porcelain and blue and white pattern decoration. She was awarded a residency through the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum to conduct her studio practice at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany and has participated in residencies at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China, Vermont Studio Center, European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands, Artpace in San Antonio, Texas and the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Residency in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
In 2017, she received the Emerging Voices award from the American Craft Council and in 2020 was named a United States Artist Fellow in Craft. Her work has been featured in a solo publication “Jennifer Ling Datchuk: Half” through French and Michigan in San Antonio, TX, and included in “Artpace at 25”, “Black Cube: A Nomadic Museum”, the Guardian, Vogue, and American Craft Magazine. Her work is in the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, San Antonio Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. She is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Arizona State University and lives and maintains a studio practice in Phoenix, Arizona.
About the art:
"My work has always been an exploration of my layered identity – as a woman, a woman of color, as an 'American,' as a third culture kid.
I live at the intersection of being neither fully Chinese or Caucasian, a sense of being in-between, seen as an imposter on either side. The constant question about my appearance – So, what are you? – has driven a series of different answers in my work over time. I explore this conflict specifically through porcelain, a nod to my Chinese heritage, but also a representation of 'pure' white, a desire reflected in both cultures. Porcelain allows me to speak in dualities, especially of fragility and resilience and ultimately the struggle between diversity and the flawless white body.
Trained and educated traditionally in ceramics, my practice evolved from sculpture to mixed media as I began to focus on domestic objects and the feminine sphere. Handwork and hair both became totems of the small rituals that fix, smooth over, and ground women’s lives. With storied materials and championing the handmade, I explore how Western beauty standards influenced the East, how the non-white body is commodified and sold, and how women’s – globally, girls’ – work is still a major economic driver whose workers still struggle for equality.
Americans are being confronted with their icons, their fetishes, their appropriations and have a constant desire for authenticity. Most of the objects we access are designed, produced, manufactured, sold, and consumed without conscious knowledge of the source. Working with porcelain, blue and white patterns, stereotypically Asian motifs, textiles, video, and installation allows me to examine and critique what we see as our “dominant” material culture. By moving between the traditional and contemporary, past and present, and personal and political, I reveal how deeply entrenched misogyny, sexism, racism, and global inequalities are in the materials, objects, and images we beautify our lives with. Bound by these conditions, I stitch together my individual nature, unravel the pressures of conformity, and forever experience pain in search of perfection."
Gallery install at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Omaha, Nebraska May 2023-September 2023
Porcelain, decals from Jingdezhen, China, mirror acrylic
16” x 20” x 3”
Porcelain, gold mirrors, wood, fabric, motorized turntable, mirror acrylic
40” x 36” x 36”
Live to Die
Porcelain, 300 custom red plastic welcome mats, shelving unit
varied dimensions (each mat is 30.5” x 22”)
Moving On Up
porcelain doll casting slip, human hair, carpet, mirror acrylic, wood, plastic carpet protector
60" x 32" x 40"
like freckles, like eggshells, like stone
Kohler Company porcelain, bamboo mats, cheerleader pom poms
Varied dimensions (tallest 28 x 12")