About the Installation
Site Location: ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum
with(in) was created entirely during the pandemic. While living in the mountains of Ashland, I have found myself surrounded by nature while being quarantined. In fact, while on a run in the Siskiyou National Forest, I found the steel bars for this artwork, discarded in mass down a steep mountainside. As a stay-at-home parent during a pandemic, I can relate to the idea that so much has been lost, a year discarded. Yet I hope that with this piece I can give people pause, to experience another viewpoint on what most would consider lost.
Geometric shapes don’t often appear in nature which is dominated by organic shapes. While creating these geometric forms I thought about humanity creating a place for itself in nature. Now more than ever we are confronted with the choices that we have made, the marks we have left on the land, and trying to figure out how to live with(in) nature without destroying it or ourselves.
With this piece, I wanted to combine my background as an architectural stone carver with the inspiration of Buckminster Fuller to create an architecturally inspired experience. A playful expression of possibilities. The complex angles and shapes mirror the complexities of being a parent during a pandemic while trying to instill in our children that there is still magic, innocence, and discovery in the world. My hope is that adults will experience that childlike playfulness and wonder as well.
About the Artist
Jessi Eaton-Shields lives in Ashland, Oregon where she lives and plays in the mountains with her two little boys, husband, and boxer dog. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, leaving to attend College of the Ozarks where she studied Studio Art. She later moved to Austin, Texas for an Americorps program in conservation. It was in Austin that she apprenticed under Master Stone Carver Joseph Kincannon learning banker masonry and architectural hand carving, quickly moving up to being an associate and member of the design team at Kincannon Studios. She was active in the arts community of Austin and participated in the EAST Austin Studio Tours for many years as well as exhibiting in many solo and group art shows. She moved to Oregon to raise her children in the mountains as a stay-at-home parent, occasionally leaving to help teach at stone carving symposiums, and is a member of the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association. She is currently attending Southern Oregon University, homeschooling her kids during the pandemic, and creating art in her studio in Ashland.
Connect with the Artist
I believe that every subject can be explored by the same individual through different mediums creating completely separate and complex visual representations on the same subject matter, which is why I have tried to meld my background in fine art and architectural stone carving. Whatever the medium I choose, or combine, I am trying to create a unique viewpoint on a complex subject, idea, or emotion. I am a tactile person and this shows through in all of my work including the two-dimensional pieces, but I am more drawn to making three-dimensional work including sculptural painting. I enjoy mixing organic and found items, and creating something profound from discarded and wasted elements, spinning the ideas of reduce, reuse, and recycle, while bringing significance to the ordinary. I incorporate flora and fauna in every medium and question ideas on existence, reality, meaning/purpose, and the complex human condition and mind.