This body of work is an echoed response to the writings of literary author Willa Cather. I am deeply inspired by the way Cather has created a period picture of the region, coloring the richness of this simple geography and the inextricable effect that it has on the character of its people. Specifically I have picked out Cather’s novel My Antonia, I personally identify with the strong character Antonia, the female centerpiece of the story. At many stages of my own life I have felt deeply connected to the Antonia character, having revisited this novel many times like an old friend.
The narrative is not perfectly sweet, as most good novels are not, and I do take particular notice that Cather recounts the story through the voice of a white middle-aged man made good in life. A detail that is easy to over look at first as the character gushes the sweetness of his reflection set in the romantic pioneering time period of the state. The effect is enchanting by its very openness, however this narrative resonates deeply of contemporary issues of prejudice, and gender inequality that still prevail. For these reasons I continue to revisit this region along with the other writings of Willa Cather.
This woman novelist wrote about where I have come and gone from, and I too aspire to do the same in my own way.
Jessica Brandl holds an MFA in Ceramics from The Ohio State University and a BFA from The Kansas City Art Institute. This year she will be recognized as one of six Emerging Artists at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including “Unconventional Clay: Engaged in Change”, NCECA Biannual invitational, hosted at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, “Ceramic Top 40,” curated by Leslie Ferrin at Red Star Studios and Harvard Ceramics Gallery. Internationally her work has been shown at RISD Rome while in residence at c.r.e.t.a.r. Her most recent work investigates the vessel as canvas and sculptural diorama.
Jessica resides in Philadelphia PA, where she is the Artist-In-Residence for Tyler School of Art at Temple University.