Jess Perlitz

Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts 2019

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Jess Perlitz Photo: Harold Hutchinson




Associate professor of art and head of sculpture, Lewis & Clark College


Jess Perlitz makes sculpture to think about how space gets articulated and how we communicate within that. At the center of her practice is a fascination with how artwork can be used and occupied as well as the pageantry of participation. She focuses on how the symbolic functions. Rather than thinking about what the symbolic represents, she is interested in how people use it to make meaning. Her projects take many forms, traversing performance, sculpture, drawing, and writing. Her recent work considers landscape — not as something separate from us, but instead considering the ways in which we seek to define and recognize ourselves within it. Exhibitions of her work have crisscrossed the country including the most recent Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts by the New York Academy of Arts and Letters (NY) and two years ago, a permanent outdoor installation in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Her installation, Chorus, has been at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia since 2015. Her work has appeared in a variety of venues such as playgrounds, fields, galleries and museums. Perlitz is a graduate of Bard College, received her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and clown training from the Manitoulin Center for Creation and Performance. 

Artist Quote:

“I make sculptures to contemplate how we define and locate ourselves in the world around us. I am attentive to how we understand scale through our bodies, how we connect with each other, and the symbolic ways we create identity, seek relief, or communicate power and place.”  

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