Fury Road series (2016):
Jennifer Ryder-Jones first attended art school at the age of 14 near her home in the south of England. At this young age, she realized how art would become her life.
She has lived in Canada since the 1960s, making art in her own unique ways and sharing her knowledge through teaching and exhibiting. She lives west of Ottawa, Ontario in the village of Blakeney, on the banks of the Mississippi River.
From functional pottery to figurative sculpture and found-object assemblages, there is a strong emphasis on natural materials in Jennifer’s work. She is fascinated with things that are worn and aged – that tell their own stories of usage, life and decay.
Jennifer combines such things as fired clay and hand-made paper with twigs and bark, dried seed heads, rusty metal, bleached wood, feathers, bones, random found objects and machine parts. Individual elements have their own interesting qualities and, when brought together in compositions and installations, they tell a story of many lives lived.
Much of her work is methodically constructed in studio but has the impression of having been found on the forest floor, or grown directly out of the earth. They celebrate the cycles of nature – so much so that one can sense pagan or shamanistic qualities in them.
Her 2011 outdoor installation entitled Scrag-ends/Scarecrows (at Fieldwork Art/Land Exploration near Perth, Ontario) was one such project.
In a field of grasses and wildflowers, she assembled a series of life-sized twig figures following each other in a gentle arching line. Appearing to have evolved out of the field and surrounding woods, each creature had their own characteristic adornments such as a walking stick, head and chest piece. The group exuded a feeling of being on a long, arduous trek towards eternity, making them quite intriguing to human visitors of all ages.
Jennifer’s work combines planned elements and intuitive expression. It conveys the passage of time, of animal remains, plants at end-of-life, natural and man-made curiosities: things that have been exposed to the effects of the seasons and the environment. Ideally her work is intended to continue its journey by taking on a life of its own through new eyes; a reminder of where we come from and where we are going some day.