My work disrupts a false dichotomy where humans and nature are binary concepts, and aims to exist in the liminal space between culture and nature.  It is a manufactured ecology ripe with fabricated nature-inspired designs. My sculpture speaks to a human obsession with commercialized representations of natural forms.

It is also a response to the absence of nature in our increasingly urban culture. The industrial, civilized world has become so disconnected from nature that it appears strange to me, like an absurd alien universe. A distinctly familiar attraction exists; I am captivated by the visual properties of nature, the notion of the organic, and the appearance of fluid, open forms. This perception suggests a model for a world that is governed naturally and intuitively, employing organic structuring to function the way nature does. A stream will always take the easiest path.

Though it may appear organic and inspired by nature, my work is manufactured with the same production techniques that commercial industry utilizes – steel, ceramic, and textiles. My sculpture is not environmentally friendly, rather, it reflects our culture’s obsession with image, appearance, and fabricated “natural” designs, without the attention towards the often simplistic and practical way that nature actually operates. The remaining aesthetic is not unlike the decorative, repetitious floral-inspired forms of Art Nouveau, though these highly stylized curvilinear forms find a modern-day voice of dissent to our contemporary urban environment.

Although my sculpture makes allusions to plant life, underwater sea creatures, or reproductive anatomy; its strength is in its ambiguity and interpretative potential. I avoid accurately depicting any one thing, aiming to encourage unique associations from each viewer. A strong reference to underwater imagery provides a metaphor for the very same unconscious mental processes that are in action when making these associations. Unconscious motivations drive the human attraction to seemingly “natural” mass-produced products or images that capitalize on our need to re-connect with nature.

I am not attempting to convey a solution to the multitude of problems that our environment faces, but rather to call attention to this curious cultural trend in hopes that a greater awareness will emerge on an individual level. Through reiterating natural forms; deconstructing and reassembling organic order, I am addressing a collective estrangement from our origins.

Stephanie Jonsson, Regal Sprouts, 2008.

12 inches x 30 inches x 25 inches, ceramic with fabric