The body is the primary vehicle one has for understanding the world.  I offer viewers immersive environments that heighten the senses and ways of knowing that are often private and experiential.

Jill Downen is a non-binary American artist based in Kansas City who works in site-responsive installations, sculpture, and drawing. A critical event in their formative years, a lightning strike to the family home, imprinted a heightened awareness of the body, architecture, and temporality that would, in time, inform the core of their artistic practice. Awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Stone and DeGuire Contemporary Art Award, and the Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artists Award. Downen has created installations at The Momentary/Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (State of the Art 2020), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and “Open Spaces: The Exhibition.” Their residencies include Art Omi, MASS MoCA, MacDowell Colony National Endowment for the Arts, and Cité International des Arts residency in Paris, France. The Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis represents Downen, and they are the Chair of Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute.

“No space is neutral; our primary understanding of the world comes through the body’s senses and visual-spatial orientation. The work poses questions such as, ‘How do we balance ourselves within the human body in a rapidly changing world merging with digital technology? How do we perceive and navigate the built environment as an extension of our bodies?’ This perspective invites people to slow down and heighten awareness of internal and external energies that undergird a contemporary culture in constant flux. The arc of my practice addresses these concerns through the symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture – where both reside as indeterminate and temporal bodies.” – Jill Downen

Jill Downen is an interdisciplinary artist whose installations address the symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture. In the work, bulges, wrinkles, tendons, and biomorphic elements emerge from walls, floors, and support structures. Her art seeks to enlarge the viewer’s awareness of space. In regards to her art, Downen states, “The work concerns the notion that a building is a body, conditioned by its materiality, location, social position, and cultural environment.”

error: © 2003-2020 Jill Downen