Two ceramic sculpted heads, one with blue hair and the other wearing a green scarf.

All images © Syndie Jimenez, shared with permission

In museums or galleries, artist Sydnie Jimenez never saw figurative sculpture that looked like her or that felt relatable. Taking inspiration from her surroundings where she grew up in north Georgia, then Chicago where she attended the School of the Art Institute, she discovered a love for ceramics as a way to celebrate Black and brown bodies and express individuality, agency, and empathy in a way she didn’t see in art history.

“I’m really interested in how people express themselves through fashion or just the way they hold themselves,” Jimenez says. Hand-building figures from clay, the artist uses coil and pinching techniques starting with the feet. “I don’t usually have an exact idea in mind, so I just start with the shoes, then decide if the figure is wearing a skirt, pants, etc., and then go from there.” The process allows her to work without much restriction, making creative decisions as she sculpts fashion accessories and hairstyles. She then lightly carves the outlines of swimming suits, tattoos, and eyebrows and adds an array glazes.

Jimenez often works alongside her twin sister Haylie Jimenez, an artist using clay and two-dimensional media. “Because of our shared experiences as twins, our work and concepts bounce off each other and push us to create more and interesting things,” she says.

 

Two figurative ceramic sculptures wearing trendy clothes.

Spirited, assertive, and inquisitive, Jimenez’s personalities confidently gaze at the viewer with expressions ranging from dubiousness to boredom to bemusement. “I really focus on having these figures have autonomy of their own, while at the same time having community to lean on and celebrate with,” the artist says. The historic lack of representation of people of color in art drives her to share her own experiences, relationships, and connections to the world—and the future.

“I think about colonialism and white supremacy a lot because of my own background as a biracial Latina in America, so being in that kind of environment invigorates me to keep creating and recording my own culture,” Jimenez says. “Like in 500 years, these works will still be standing, and people of the future can see what young people were wearing in the 21st century.”

While not intentionally sculpted as self-portraits, Jimenez is often told her works resemble her, and she says it’s likely related to seeing her own face and her twin’s so often. That sense of familiarity is what resonates most with viewers, too, and it’s the part she most enjoys about sharing her work with others. “One of my favorite things about going to an exhibition opening including my work is when I hear someone say, ‘This looks just like my daughter,’ or something like, ‘This is totally Ze!’ It’s really heartwarming to me when people see friends, family, or themselves in my work.”

If you’re in L.A., you can see Jimenez’s work in a group exhibition opening on February 22 at New Image Art. And in June, she will present a solo exhibition with Albertz Benda. See more on Instagram.

 

Two figurative ceramic sculptures wearing trendy clothes.

Three figurative ceramic sculptures wearing swimsuits and trendy clothes.

A figurative ceramic sculpture wearing trendy clothes.

Two figurative ceramic sculptures wearing trendy clothes.

A figurative ceramic sculpture wearing trendy clothes. The t-shirt reads "Never Enough"

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Sydnie Jimenez’s Striking Ceramic Sculptures Celebrate Individual Expression and Diverse Communities appeared first on Colossal.

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