Brilliance: Jennifer Trask

Brilliance: Jennifer Trask

Jennifer Trask, Compositae

Jennifer Trask, Compositae, 2013. Antler, resin, carved and found bone, pre-ban ivory fragments, diamonds, 14 x 13 x 5 in. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Trask’s work speaks of opposites: history and modernity, nature and culture. “Trask’s ability to evoke ‘long ago and far away’ while being simultaneously edgy and modern is what makes her work jump out at me,” says Ulysses Grant Dietz. “The eerie beauty of her recycled animal bones and fragments of antique picture frames sets her apart from any jeweler of her generation.”

When she started making jewelry: “In childhood, although it was less about adornment than about carrying something meaningful on my body – out of sentiment or as a signifier of some type. The same is true now.”

How she describes her work: “Sculptural, sometimes wearable, objects. All of my work from the last 10 years has been shaped by my own profound reaction upon seeing an X-ray of my chest. Here was the unseen, the forgotten substance of ourselves, made visible. My curiosity about the intrinsic nature of things, of organic materials, and my interest in biology coalesced into one question: What is written on our bones? Literally, and figuratively, what desires, ideals, motivations do we carry silently?”

Her training: “Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, SUNY New Paltz for my MFA.”

Why she makes jewelry: “In using bone, I’m not interested in emphasizing death but rather in revealing what we forget to see, what is below the surface. Via familiar visual cues, ideally the objects seduce the viewer with beauty, slyly evoking an emotional response, a visceral and intellectual engagement.”

Read the rest of the profiles of jewelry artists in this issue.