February 2 - April 22, 2012
Joy Pratt Markham Gallery Project Room

My America: It's a Boy!, Jeannie Hulen, 2011

Following in the tradition of artists as diverse as Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenberg, and Cindy Sherman, Jeanie Hulen’s sculptural installations challenge artistic conventions, cultural norms, and the way the marketplace shapes personal, gender and cultural identities.

Hulen’s Walton Arts Center installation,Made in the USA is comprised of a hand-built terracotta nude. Modeled after the artist’s daughter, the girl stands in a contemplative pose surrounded by slip-cast porcelain cars molded from plastic children’s toys. Through integrating everyday materials such as plastic and Astroturf together with traditional fine art media, such as fired clay, Hulen draws attention to the values we assign to different materials. Her use of mundane materials and hand-sewn components that are traditionally associated with “craft” or “woman’s work” contrasts with her installations’s spare arrangement and surreal hybrid combinations of “high” and “low” materials. Integrating objects such as bows, which we associate with femininity, with toy car forms, which we associate with masculinity, prompt us to consider the ways in which consumer products are gender-coded and even sexualized in our culture.

About the Artist:

Jeannie Hulen is Chair of the Department of Art and Associate Professor of Ceramics at the University of Arkansas. In 1995 she received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and in 2000 a MFA from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. She has held solo exhibitions in Taiwan, Houston, TX, Grand Rapids, MI, Utica, NY, Kansas City, MO, and Fayetteville, AR. She has participated in many national group exhibitions including shows in conjunction with the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts from 2007-2010. In Fall 2009 she was a Resident Visiting Artist at the Graduate Institute of Applied Arts, Tainan National University of The Arts in Tainan, Taiwan. In Taiwan she produced a body of work called “Made in Taiwan.” The work examined the current relationship between the United States and Taiwan, through the use of slip-cast toys and hand-made ceramic figures, historically referential of Japanese haniwa soldiers, Chinese terracotta warriors and plastic toy soldiers from the United States.

“Made in the USA,” is a companion installation to “Made in Taiwan.”

Artist website: www.jeanniehulen.com