Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong is a ceramic artist whose sculptures have a fresh sophistication and modern aesthetic that link fine art with craft. Before devoting herself full-time to ceramics in 2001, Ms. Armstrong spent nearly 20 years as a freelance fashion stylist/editor in Manhattan. Since then, she has developed a signature technique of building black and white porcelain ceramic sculptures to look delicately stitched together.
Ms. Armstrong’s talent has been recognized and her work critically acclaimed. She received an Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism in 2008, and was granted prestigious Emerging Artist Awards from American Style Magazine in 2008, Ceramics Monthly in 2007, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2005. She won the First Prize in Sculpture in 2008 and 2006 during the “Annual Art of the Northeast USA Exhibition” at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center (New Canaan, CT).
Her porcelain sculptures have been exhibited regionally and nationally at venues including Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, MA), San Angelo Museum of Art (San Angelo, TX), BWAC Gallery (Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY), Phoenix Gallery (NYC), Peninsula Museum of Art (Belmont, CA), Lincoln Arts & Cultural Foundation (Lincoln, CA), Mesa Contemporary Arts (Mesa, AZ), Wayne Art Center (Wayne, PA), Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center (Dowell, MD), Sherrie Galerie (Columbus, OH), Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), Fairfield Arts Council (Fairfield, CT), Westport Arts Center (Westport, CT) and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgfield, CT). Her work is included in Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base (Brooklyn, NY).
Ms. Armstrong holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a juried member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists (New Canaan, CT). She currently lives in Westport and maintains a studio in Bridgeport, CT.
Gesture is what interests me. Body language is beguiling. Gesture naturally conveys movement but can also be passive or submissive, playful or seductive, regal and proud. Gesture can tell a story.
My studio practice has evolved into an ongoing exploration of figurative ceramic sculpture and installations created with paper-thin porcelain. I have a strong desire to avoid repetition, experiment with materials, and take risks to find originality in my work. I enjoy the process of discovery. Moving between the worlds of formal and conceptual ceramic sculpture and installation keeps me engaged in my studio practice and the work fresh
Some sculptures are methodically planned, while others flow spontaneously from within. I remain open-minded, responding to my materials and the evolution of the creative process, searching for the unexpected in a sculpture. Gesture and form are essential elements in my figurative ceramic sculpture, influenced by my background in fashion photography. Sometimes I explore abstract or biomorphic territory and vessels with roots in organic matter take on an expressive human quality. I delight in this ambiguity, this duality, and this transformation.
Using porcelain, forms are thrown, cut apart, altered and reassembled using black slip. The surface is sponged smooth, dried, then sanded, to enhance the “stitched" effect of the scored black lines. I use these lines to an illustrative effect and sometimes the lines can express meaning. The process relates to the sewing skills I learned as a young girl, and specifically, pattern making.
Recent installations are constructed using mold making and hand building techniques in paper thin porcelain to create multiples of iconic imagery addressing issues of feminism, ecology and social observation. Gesture is evident in these works, too. The imperfections in the molds of women's shoes, the collapse of a mold, the flutter of a wing, the fragility of paper-thin porcelain and use of other materials, add movement and conceptual meaning to the works. Some of my sculptures and installations are confrontational and that is my intent: to inspire curiosity, raise awareness, and incite positive action.