Influenced by the historical phenomenon of the Wunderkammer, erudite collections of natural history, geology, ethnography, archeology, historical relics and antiquities, and the Victorian penchant for the invention of mechanical technology and the exploration of science through the collecting of naturalia, Jessica Joslin creates exquisite and intricate creature-sculptures from a fusion of bone, brass, antique hardware and other scavenged treasures. The artist is always on the search for material, as she explained: “I find things anywhere that I find myself…in obscure junk shops, flea markets, attics, taxidermy supply houses, specialty hardware distributors… or walking through the woods.”
Her creatures have clearly not lived out any biological or evolutionary imperative. They are products of a more treacherous environment: mankind and our civilization. It is human detritus that makes up their feathers and beaks, bright unblinking eyes and onyx toenails, silver wings, and the soft, inviting leather or fabric of their ears or bellies. By encrusting the skeletons with so many charming discarded riches, Joslin reminds us of our capacity to treasure an object, only to cast it aside when something else catches our eye.
Joslin received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Regarding the study of animal anatomy, she describes herself as an intrigued autodidact. She has a strong affinity for animals and creates replica bones for any of her works that reference protected or endangered species. For any sculptures that incorporate real animal bones, she works with licensed osteological suppliers, whose specimens are legally and ethically sourced.