“My work is organic abstraction, forms and ideas taken from nature, but not direct representations. My fascination with the details of nature began when I was a child and I walked with my eyes on the ground, searching for treasure, which I often found in small natural objects. I still find the patterns and details of things like seeds, bark, and leaves beautiful and extraordinary. I am curious about the function of spirals and overlapping feathers; fascinated that similar shapes and patterns repeat on different scales and in different organic material.
I started working in clay in 2009. My process is meditative. I begin with a vision of a finished piece and based on the building block element, I let the piece evolve organically, placing each part where it seems to belong. Paper Clay (an amalgam of dried clay, water, and paper) acts like a glue and makes it possible to bond small parts and edges together. At some point in the process the piece becomes a cohesive whole with presence and movement. Often the piece takes on a life of its own surprising me with the finished result.
Ovoids and Ovules is a series that all begin with the same shape, a 6 inch high egg(or ovoid). I add to and take from this form to explore nature’s patterns and relationships. Orbs and ovals have been important in my work since I began making sculpture. Round is natural, organic, and feminine. The egg shape is particularly fecund.
In my pieces and studies I have looked at lichens, fungi, and mosses, the secret details of the forest. I have explored how plants grow and rocks erode as well as the slow growth of cave pearls and the quick colonization of molds. I looked closely at tree bark and tiny mussels clinging to a rock battered by the tide. Each is beautiful and fascinating, both mysterious and functional.
Many of these pieces capture the commensalistic relationship between two or more natural elements, host and growth. Everything grows on something. What is the relationship between these living things? Do they help or hinder each other or simply exist harmoniously?
Others are repetitions of the same element, exalting the form. Repeating the same shape over and over again with slight variations is like an an ode to that single idea. These pieces are monochrome and deceptively complex. A driving force because of their single mindedness.
Wrapping and containing the elements (such as bark and lichen) around and within the egg removes them from straight representation and makes them monuments or models of the natural world. It is a body of work that offers a narrative, together the pieces are an ark, the terraforming seeds of a new world.”
Jennifer Langhammer is a ceramic sculptor known for Organic Abstraction and describes her process as “informed by the growth and evolution of living things.”
She has received numerous grants to create and install her sculptural works. In 2011 she was awarded an MCC grant and with a collaborator created an outdoor sculpture garden at the Felix Neck Audubon Center. She was also awarded a grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Visual Arts for her piece Forest Floor – a large scale ceramic environment which was installed at Featherstone Center for the Arts with students at Stonehill College as part of Visionary Vistas. She received an A.R.T. grant from The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation for her SEEDS series which was shown at ArtSpace Maynard and at Featherstone Center for the Arts on Martha’s Vineyard.
Langhammer has been a guest speaker at gallery shows and high school assemblies throughout Massachusetts. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the California College of Art in San Francisco and received a Post-Baccalaureate degree from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She has lived and exhibited in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Boston.