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School of Performing and Visual Arts

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Art and Design

Jennifer Torres, professor of sculpture and ceramics at Southern Miss, showcased her most recent creative endeavor titled, “Misfit Children: Landscapes and Creatures from the Mind of Jennifer Torres,” at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art. The exhibition intrigued visitors with the stories each piece had to tell using texture, color, and intentional detail. As the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Creative Research Scholar of the Year, we sat down with professor Torres to get to know her and learn more about her exhibition and creative process.

"Shiny, Cheap, and Happy"

Pieces "Shiny, Cheap, and Happy"

"Purple Monster Majesty"

Piece "Purple Monster Majesty"

Piece "Purple Monster Majesty" up close

Series of Laser Boxes

 

Tell us about you work.

“My work aims to discover the place of the “weirdo” in all of this and how the idea of contrast is actually a unifying paradigm in life as well as art. There is no end, each body of work is just another stop on the pathway to fulfilling my creative voice. Each new piece informs the next, opening doorways and questions to be answered. Never done, always working,” Torres said. 

"As an artist, my work tends to respond to current events and movements around the world, such as women’s rights and equality, political issues, the coronavirus pandemic, and more. My most recent body of work was no exception," she said. "As a central theme the pieces focused on duality—our relationships to each other and around us. It was also inspired as a response from the marginalization of certain populations and landscapes within our community. I felt compelled to respond to, what I saw as, the dramatic effects on those around me and in my own life." 

 

From all the pieces in the exhibit "Misfit Children: Landscapes and Creatures from the Mind of Jennifer Torres” my favorite include:

  • Shiny, Cheap, and Happy: This 3 pieces are the inspiration for the entire exhibit; made out of plywood.
  • Purple Monster Majesty: This piece combines the “weirdos” with landscape.
  • Series of Laser Boxes:  This piece integrates technology into my art as I did some laser cutting. It evokes my love of both the country and the city. I was born in NYC and was discontent with certain aspects of the city that created disconnect at times, but was in love with the culture, music, and art. This work gives off the duality of both worlds.

 

Tell us a little bit about the process and techniques used:  What materials, techniques, and technology did you use when creating the sculptures?

This current body of work consists of just a little bit of everything from carved wood, fabricated wood structures, bronze, aluminum and cast-iron pieces to fiberglass layup and foam construction. Also, being very fluent in different techniques, I used a laser cutter to cut wood, acrylic, and hardboard, as well as a variety of resin and two-part epoxy coatings.

 

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