Downen’s art is a focused investigation of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture expressed in temporal installations, drawings, and models. Her art envisions a place of interdependent relation between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, deterioration, and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities.
Jill Downen has received numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony National Endowment for the Arts residency, a Cité International des Arts Residency in Paris and the Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award. She has created site specific installations for museums such as American University Museum in Washington DC, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Great Rivers Biennial and its 10th Anniversary exhibition, Place is the Space. Downen has been invited to lecture about her work extensively, including the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the Luce Irigaray Circle Philosophy Conference in New York. Her art has been reviewed in publications including Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Art Papers, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Times and Bad at Sports. 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 currently an assistant professor of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute.