Kristen Jensen and the Art of Dungarees

THE DAILY PIC: At Simone Subal, Jensen dresses her ceramics in mom-jeans.

THE DAILY PIC (#1685): A lot of artists are using ceramics in their art these days, but I find Kristen Jensen’s combining of clay with fabric especially convincing. I caught up with her recent sculptures in a group show at Simone Subal gallery in New York.

What made them speak to me, I think, is the fact that the fabric Jensen uses in them is denim. That somehow gives the pieces a slightly comic air, as though the ceramics that wear Jensen’s “jeans” are about to ask if their butts look big. It also connects them to the everyday, as lived by vast numbers of jeans-wearing Americans. Jensen is not invoking APC or 7 for All Mankind. Her clay is sporting mom-jeans worthy of Obama.

It’s a cliché to say that clay stands in for flesh, but the particular fabric Jensen’s uses in her new pieces makes her ceramics seem positively adipose.

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