Jen Somerville is a Calgary-based sculptor whose first local solo exhibition since graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2009 is currently on view at Jarvis Hall Fine Art. Her work was recognized as 2008 Best in Show, Canadian Glass Graduate Show, at Material Matters in Toronto. She has also received numerous residencies at The Banff Centre and The Pilchuk Glass School in Seattle, and has apprenticed under Benjamin Moore at Benjamin Moore Inc.
I love the process of turning somethings into something. It is one of the reasons, for example, why hot glass is my primary artistic medium. I love to turn raw products into finished products - to fabricate. This includes things such as sculpting, welding, sewing, cooking. I must create; I am not sure if it is to calm my mind or to stop my hands from picking at anything and everything around me. I make, therefore I am. Almost everything else I am obsessed about is a subset of this.
The overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by a seemingly impossible volume of the same thing. This is reflected in my vending machine art. Give me 10 000 of the same thing and let me loose to see what I can come up with. I guess it was one of the things that made me such a good tree-planter. Leave me alone on a cut block with thousands of seedlings and I will create a forest! I like to find the uniqueness in repetition. Maybe this is why I like...
…of any type, from undoing knots to crosswords, jigsaws to packing the car. It keeps my hands and mind busy. Give me the Gordian knot and I will untie it. Any morass of cables that dares to stand before me will be straight and orderly before I am done. It is a little bit like the process of “making” in reverse. Maybe part of my fascination is with the third dimension. All things z-axis. Almost none of my art is 2D.
And what is exercise other than activity in repetitive form? Yoga, running, cycling, skiing - I love it all. The meditation that comes with exhaustion, endorphins, and repetitive activity is something that I crave. It sets my mind at ease and soothes all my troubles away... at least for a while.
I grew up in Ontario, and moved out west because ACAD is the only school in Canada that grants a degree for glassblowing. When you are introduced to a landscape such as the Rocky Mountains later in life, I think it has a very profound effect. I can always feel them looming just over my shoulder. They are such a dominating presence that I feel they must either become overwhelming or an obsession. Luckily they have become my obsession. You can see their giant pull in many of my works. I am very fortunate to have this stolid friend.
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