Jessica Drenk likes to experiment with materials – coffee filters, cosmetic pads, PVC pipe, cotton balls, toothpicks, books. Drenk looks for man-made materials that can be manipulated to simulate patterns found in nature. She gathers ordinary materials, distorts their shape, adds fire, wax or porcelain slip and pushes them well past their intended use, creating provocative new forms.
Cosmetic Skin, cosmetic pads dipped in porcelain slip and fired
Colony, singed toilet paper rolls, wax
I was initially drawn to Drenk’s work when I saw a photograph of Colony, the Cellular Composite above. The pattern was interesting enough for me to look closer and when I realized what it was made of I was compelled to look further. I don’t think I will ever look at a roll of toilet paper the same way again. And isn’t that the point?
Cup Lids, plastic cup lids, wax
Toothpicks, slightly burned toothpicks
I believe there is value in looking beyond the category, the classification, the signifier— to muddle distinctions and see things out of order. The grey spaces in between categories, the things that do not fit into the classification, can reveal our standard modes of thinking and push us beyond the limits of the known. To step outside of the logical places in our minds and embrace the intuitive— this sparks important new connections between previously unrelated categories.