The body is the primary vehicle one has for understanding the world.
Jill Downen’s art envisions a symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, destruction, and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities. Her visual-spatial language takes multiple forms including site-specific installations, models, drawings and public art. Her art engages culture with silence, stillness, and a context to alter perception and return to the speed of life with measured focus.
Jill Downen is the recipient of numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Stone and DeGuire Contemporary Art Award, the MacDowell Colony National Endowment for the Arts residency, Cité International des Arts Residency in Paris, the Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artists Award and a Santo Grant. She has created site specific installations for Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and American University Museum at the Katzen Center in Washington D.C., and The Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Her work, Architectural Folly from a Future Place, created for Open Spaces: The Exhibition, was recently acquired by the City of Kansas City and remains on permanent view in Swope Park. Downen has lectured about her work extensively at venues including the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the Luce Irigaray Circle Philosophy Conference in New York. She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA as a Danforth Scholar from Washington University in St. Louis. Jill Downen is Associate Professor and Chair of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute and is represented by Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis.