Jessica O'Connell

Art + Design: Sculpture

Jessica O'Connell (right) pictured with Professor Stacy Latt Savage (left)
Jessica O'Connell (right) pictured with Professor Stacy Latt Savage (left)

Biography

Originally an illustration major at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Jessica O’Connell found a passion for sculpture after working with the human figure at Massasoit Community College. Upon getting her Associate’s Degree there in 2017, she decided to further dedicate her studies to the three-dimensional art world. Jessica’s sculpture deals primarily with the human condition, and expresses emotional intensity through color, distortion, mixed media, and gesture.

Statement

Through exploration of the figure, my work investigates the effects of mood disorders on the human experience. The distortion of the figure captures and evokes the viscous, confusing, and disruptive nature of mood dysregulation on the mind and body. Poltergeist is an example of this; thick, black, billowing clouds, that represent a tormenting beast, which rips through a disfigured, pure white torso. This demon, comparable to rage, anxiety, or other painful human emotions, can have the power to violently dismember our natural states of being.

I use a wide variety of materials and techniques, from bronze casting to paper clay, to capture specific aspects of the vastly complex nature of the human condition. A crucial device I use in my work is gesture, which is the key element to determining the emotion of an individual. It tells a rich story of being tired or energized, of being stressed out or carefree. Whereas facial expressions are the first chapter, gesture is the entire novel. It tells us the whole story.

I blend distortion, gesture, and a diverse range of media to reveal what cannot be seen physically – the internal struggles fought by those with mental illness. I consider powerful, visceral topics such as loss, mania, and emotional dissociation. Embryo is a piece that expresses feelings of painful loss. It is a window into the emotions of a mother bird who has just lost her child, and is experiencing grief and despair. She feels she has nothing left to live for, as her energy evaporates into the atmosphere.

Contant

Email: Joconnell1@umassd.edu
Instagram: jessica.o.arts 

Slideshow

  1. Embryo, 2019, steel, 16” x 9” x 18”
  2. Embryo (detail), 2019, steel, 16” x 9” x 18”
  3. Poltergeist, 2020, plaster on painted wall, 5’ x 5’ x 1’10”
  4. Poltergeist (detail), 2020, plaster on painted wall, 5’ x 5’ x 1’10”
  5. Fever, 2020, mixed media 9” x 4” x 3”
  6. Fever, 2020, mixed media 9” x 4” x 3”
  7. Somber (detail), 2020, bronze 9.5” x 4” x 4”
  8. Somber, 2020, bronze 9.5” x 4” x 4”
  9. Untitled Head #3, 2019, clay with coffee stain, 8” x 3” x 3"
  10. Miscarriage, 2019, mixed media 9” x 3” x 3”
  11. Miscarriage (detail), 2019, mixed media 9” x 3” x 3”
  12. Has Anyone Seen My Car Keys?, 2020, mixed media, 8” x 6” x 5”


Departments College of Visual Performing Arts, Date: Year 2020, Degree Type BFA, Gallery Campus Gallery, Gallery Exhibitions