Janet Neuwalder is a sculptor and installation artist specializing in mixed media, clay and ceramic processes.
Much of her recent work is large-scale sculptural wall installations and mixed media works on panel. Her wall installations are often assembled from hundreds of fragments that seemingly float on the wall, creating a visually active topographic surface. The work expresses movement, playfulness, a reverence for the power and complex beauty of the natural world and a sense of history and time. She creates rich narratives, a dialogue between the physical processing of ceramic materials, the poetic personal, and a space for pause and questioning.
Neuwalder received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri and a Master of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She is a Ford Foundation recipient and was awarded a Kentucky State Arts Council grant. In 2013, she became a Documented artist of Focus on the Masters in Ventura, CA.
Neuwalder has been exhibiting her work nationally since 1984. Recent exhibitions include: Fluid Entropy, Napa Hall Art Gallery, CSU Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, Peeling Back, CSU Dominguez Hills Art Gallery, Carson, CA, thread/bare/regroup, at Brand Library Gallery, Glendale, CA, Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasenoff Colection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, and Parallel Realities at galerie102 in Ojai, CA. She has taught art at numerous universities and colleges throughout the United States. Currently, Neuwalder maintains a studio in Ventura, CA and teaches Art at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.
In a world of virtual realities and changing perceptions of what is real, I am celebrating the materiality of things. As an object maker, I make art to explore, understand and express my connection to nature and humankind. I navigate through the pathways and intersections of collective experience, creativity and consciousness. In my art, I seek to create and share poetic and engaging spaces to question, explore, and delight. My work uses clay and mixed media to speak directly of delicacy and strength, alluding to the poignancy and importance of balance in the natural and psychological realm. I am mapping my thoughts materializing them into concrete narratives.
The completeness and perfection of the natural world and phenomena are an endless source of inspiration and imagery. I am always wondering and wandering in these microscopic and macroscopic realms. Recently, I have been intrigued by the images taken by Hubble telescope and the phenomena its existence has allowed me to experience. I can now see the spectacular Cosmos, once only imaginable, allowing me to journey to places I will never actually see. Equally, a walk or hike give me time to witness the earthly forces of nature that allow a shopping cart to dangle above in a tree and plastic bags to hang like boughs from branches in a dry river bed. Questions form and curiosity is peaked. Nothing exists in isolation.
My work has a sense of history. Using clay and mixed media, I layer materials and explore their physical and poetic qualities. Clay is an ancient material and seems inexhaustible in its ability to express a sense of timelessness, endurance and expressive meaning. My work is labor and time intensive, sometimes obvious in the use of multiples, accumulations, and collections. I use natural and manufactured materials (papers, fibers, books, etc) that act as armatures for starting points of my work. These materials are the residue and topography of human existence. I coat these materials with liquid clays. The firing process, rapid petrifaction, is the transformative process, further encoding the clay with my intent and its history, into a contemporary fossil. Surveying the petrified fragments, I begin to assemble and construct these into topographic landscapes that are poised somewhere between growth and decay, recognition and abstraction, beauty and viscera. The visual and tactile qualities allow entry into these microscopic and macroscopic worlds that often feel somewhat familiar.