Since 2012, Jennifer Caldwell and Jason Chakravarty AKA JC Squared have maintained a critical, conceptual, and technical dialogue about their individual work, which easily evolved to collaborative pieces. Over that time they have mounted multiple two person exhibitions which included work that challenges the experimental process specific to each of them. Within these compositions, Jennifer included flame worked components that represented her mastery of the process while Jason’s contribution was cast and blown glass. The finished compositions have been published in glass magazines and generously collected.
Jennifer Caldwell creates work that draws inspiration from her environment. Born and raised in California, she began working with glass in 2000 while living in Hawaii. “Although my inspiration comes from the ocean, I am most intrigued by capturing movement. I try to emulate the movement of sea life in a simple contemporary form,” Splitting time between the desert and the ocean her surrounding environment continues to influence her work.
Jason Chakravarty began incorporating glass through the use of neon into his sculpture in 1998 while attending Arizona State University. He was employed for four years at a commercial neon sign shop where he learned technical fundamentals of the neon process. In 2002 he began illuminating hot shop forms and kiln casting glass while attending graduate school at California State University Fullerton.
Technically Jennifer’s roots began as a flameworker sculpting solid borosilicate in a torch. As her ideas evolved, her technique expanded into casting and enamel imagery on glass. Jason transitioned into the glass world following academic training in neon, cast metal and mixed media sculpture. His glass focus was casting with a bit of blowing and hot sculpting sprinkled in. Self-defined as process junkies, today the artists find themselves like eager and hungry chefs seeking out process and materials to complete the perfect recipe IE idea. Out of an unrefined love for glass and its ability to be manipulated in ways that no other material can, the artists explore and include in their work kiln casting, hot casting, flame working, blowing, hot sculpting, cold sculpting, extensive cold working, sandblasting, enameling, screen printing, water jet cutting, and even laminating glass. They are also constantly challenging the material and process by experimenting with color application and surface treatment through cold working. All of this comes from a need to express an idea, tell a story or respond to a place, a culture or an experience not to mention a deep devotion and admiration for ‘making’.
Thematically much of their work is drawn from travelling to teach, exhibit and demonstrate glass. Spending summers based in a quiet, rural ferry town outside of Seattle and fall/summer in hi speed downtown Phoenix. Combine that with road trips back and forth across Canada and the US visits to Japan, Cuba, Honduras, Turkey and Israel have inspired series of work derived from objects, places, and people they have met along the journey. Wooden docks in the Honduras, sunsets in the southwest, and forest lakes in upstate New York have crept their way into many of the pieces. Objects ranging from antique scuba diver helmets to barnacle covered buoys serve as points of departure inviting viewers to explore their own personal connections to the familiar forms we encounter in unfamiliar places. Nostalgia and its power to seduce the viewer plays a big role in the work. Including imagery of wagons and tin can phones reminding the viewer to remember something different, something else. Slow down and remember. In other pieces the artists take their eyes off the road long enough to research ‘beehavior’. Charting the parallel relationships between human culture and that of bees. The artists end goal is to create smart, technically and conceptually sound work which allows the artists the financial security to continue their path creating exceptional beauty much like our friends the bees…..