A 3-D model of an ideal home protrudes from a wall. It seems perfect, but it’s colorless except for the orange paint splattered on one side that drips down the house and onto the two houses that sit beneath it. A pattern in the shape of New Jersey is spread across the houses. Suburban bliss with a twist.
The selected works of UTSA’s 30th Annual Student Exhibition spoke of various themes including cultural and social conditions and the investigation of conceptual unease.
If you happen to visit the student exhibition, then it is more than likely you’ll come across “Orange Rancher.” The piece won artist Jenna Wright first place for “Best of Show” and depicts issues that come with growing up in suburbia.
“The inspiration behind the pieces in the show links to my hometown environment,” Wright says. “I am from New Jersey and am used to living in dense suburban communities. Suburban sprawl is a huge inspiration to my work.”
She lists her medium of choice as ceramic but works with house paints and, more recently, plastics, fabric and vinyl sliding, which can be seen in “Orange Rancher.”
Wright decided to pursue art when she was applying for college. Desiring to be an art teacher, she later decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE). She studied at Millersville University of Pennsylvania where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with a concentration in ceramics along with her BSE for Art Education K-12. Wright currently teaches an undergraduate basic ceramics course at UTSA where she is a second-year graduate student gaining a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Sculpture Ceramics.
“UTSA has helped me flourish as an artist,” Wright says. “On the west side of Main Campus, the ceramics/sculptures graduate studios and facilities are located. Having space and proper facilities to create work is extremely beneficial to young artists. It allows us to experiment with a wide variety of materials and processes.”
Wright draws influences from artists such as David East, a nationally and internationally known ceramics artist best known for showing the importance in the mundane by comparing forms and images in architecture and design. Another influence is artist Dan Graham who is known for his installation pieces that focus on cultural phenomena and integrate many mediums of art into his work. Wright accomplishes similar feats in “Orange Rancher.”
When she is not teaching, Wright dedicates her time to San Antonio’s flourishing art community where she is a well-known member. Her work has been showcased in various galleries in and outside of San Antonio. Her most recent show was for Grindstone Gallery’s Second Saturday in the Lone Star District.
When Wright isn’t creating, she is busy working at Artpace which hosts a residency program for contemporary artists.
“I give tours through the exhibition spaces to local schools and organization,” says Wright. “It is really wonderful that San Antonio has a place like this for contemporary artists.”
Wright is a part of the UTSA Clay Club and volunteers her time helping out in various events, such as Artpace’s Chalk It Up and in TASA conferences. She is also a participant in workshops at UTSA and an active member in the San Antonio and UTSA art community. Wright hopes to further her career as an artist and a teacher.
“I hope to be an artist and teach after I graduate,” says Wright. “I really enjoy teaching at the college level.”
Wright’s work is currently on view in the UTSA 30th Student Exhibition until April 16.