My artwork collapses boundaries between body and landscape to highlight human connection to—and impact on—the surrounding world. This merging of figure and ground is inspired by an obscure sub-genre of Dutch and Italian Renaissance painting, in which illusionistic figures were hidden in landscapes, presenting grotesque whimsy and asserting human dominance over the natural world. My sculptures update this tradition, depicting tragic figures embodying complex spaces jeopardized by industry.
I am currently completing a series of large-scale sculptural dioramas titled Illuminated Collapse. In these works, unsettling scenes unfold on circular bases. Anatomies/landscapes are engaged in dramatic acts of self-consumption and destruction, projecting a metaphorical End of Times narrative. Mirroring our own world through their miniature elements, the works reflect on contemporary consumption, industrial development, and inherent environmental degradation. The works combine scientific warning with speculative fantasy and diverse cultural references, using personal symbolism and metaphor to register the concept of planetary collapse.
Recent years have heralded predictions of final days in the guise of the Doomsday Clock, Hollywood disaster movies and an overwhelming flood of articles and scientific reports of extinction and unsustainability. Adding to this subconscious burden is environmental degradation on a vast scale that many choose to deflect in order to proceed in a stable manner. My sculptures attempt to embody this repressed and deflected anxiety, delivering it back to the viewer in ways that are self-deprecating and fluid, prioritizing possibility and transformation over closure.
In the diorama Ice Cap (images 08-10), a glacial head melts in the sunlight, weeping rivers and streams onto a flooded cityscape. Reflecting Alice’s dramatic pool of tears in her Adventures in Wonderland, the world is sunken or swimming in remorse—collective culpability symbolized by the glacier’s many crying eyes. In All-Consuming (image 07), a giant body doubles as an island and a shipping yard. The body is being fed by an endless stream of freight vessels, unloading and delivering crates into its maw. The figure’s face (referencing grotesque statuary from the Italian Gardens of Bomarzo) updates the context of the insatiable Renaissance era Hell Mouth. The miniature scale of the delivery vessels, in relation to the anatomy, makes a nod to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in which the captive Gulliver’s appetite threatens to consume everything within a miniature world. The work Black Ark (images 04-05) presents a reverse Noah’s Ark narrative, in which a procession of spectral animals is corralled around a deforested landscape by bulldozers. The animals are boarding an ark that is a black void, representing species extinction rather than salvation.
Other works focus on the effects of rampant development and urban density, played out on strained landscapes. In the work Gaining Ground (images 02-03), a figure embodies a cemetery, as the last remaining island of green space surrounded by gridlocked freeways. The race to “gain ground” by commuter cars extends into the resting place of the dead, which is overburdened by headstones. In the work Fully Developed (image 06), an anxious character forming a hill represents the last undeveloped space within a mass of suburban housing. Environmental strain manifests as human anxiety as the anthropomorphic landscape chain-smokes cigarettes, a construction site unfolding on its temples. The final work, Through Ashes (01), presents a collapsed and ashen world, in which a hybrid figurative weed grows through the wreckage.
The obsessive craft quality of the work subverts various functions and histories of the miniature and diorama. The works occupy a grey area between traditional natural history displays—as crafted illusion understood as fact—to the toy model, a miniature realm on which one is able to insert their ideas and fantasies into a broader picture. From this liminal space, the sculptures describe both difficult fact and dystopic fiction, attempting to mediate personal space within them.
2014 Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics, Concordia University, Canada
2012 MFA International Exchange, University of Lapland, Finland
2019 (Im)perfection, NURTUREart, Brooklyn, USA (curated by Simone Couto)
2018 Never go on vacation with an artist who collects the same stuff you do (curated by Kari Conte), ISCP, Brooklyn, USA
Illuminated Collapse (curated by Michele Hardy), Nickle Galleries—University of Calgary, Canada (solo)
Flux: Responding to Head and Neck Cancer (curated by Lianne McTavish), International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, USA
Ground-Figure (curated by Joanne Marion), Esplanade Arts & Heritage Center, Medicine Hat, Canada (solo)
Illuminated Collapse, El Museo de Los Sures, Brooklyn, USA (solo)
2017 The Art of VR, Sotheby’s, New York, USA
Et Tu, Art Brute? Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, USA
real, surreal, hyperreal, Galerie Kremers, Berlin, Germany
Arms, eyes, detritus, Galerie Sturm, Nuremberg, Germany (catalogue) (solo)
Mess-Maker, Evans Contemporary, Peterborough, Canada (solo)
Die Geister, die ich rief, with Jan Pötter, Spinnerei Archiv Massiv, Leipzig, Germany
Plastic Ghost, a public artwork (curated by Anna Ruth), Jyväskylä, Finland (solo)
Crafting Ruin, dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton, Canada (solo)
Estranged Setting (curated by Shauna Thompson), Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada (solo)
2015 Washout, The Museum Lytke Project Space, Leipzig, Germany (solo)
Wasted, Galerie Sturm, Nuremberg, Germany (solo)
KATALYSATOR KUNST, Großer Saal des Staatsministeriums, Nuremberg, Germany
Future Station: The 2015 Biennial of Contemporary Art (curated by Kristy Trinier), The Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada
2013 How You Were Made, Galerie Sturm, Nuremberg, Germany (catalogue)
Grow Apart, FOFA Gallery, Montréal, Canada
Elsewhere Retrospective, The Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro, USA
Prizes and Awards
2018 Alberta Foundation for the Arts Project Grant (also in 2017, 2016, 2015)
2017 The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (also in 2014, 2015)
Residencies and Fellowships
2019 Ground floor NY Artist Residency (2.5 years), The International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, USA (Supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York City Council District 34, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Yoko Ono, Alice and Lawrence Weiner, Danna and Ed Ruscha, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature)
2018 Artist Residency, Medalta Ceramics Centre, Medicine Hat, Canada
2017 Artist Residency, MASS MoCA Studios, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, USA
2016 Artist Residency, Kunstnarhuset Messen, Alvik, Norway
Grant and Artist Residency, The International Studio and Curatorial Program, Brooklyn, USA (Supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts)
2015 Artist Residency, Halle 14 Center for Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany
2019 El Sheikh, Tammer. “Jude Griebel’ Illuminated Collapse”. Catalogue essay for Illuminated Collapse. Calgary: Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary.
2015 Jervis, Carolyn. “I love you more than all the plastic in the ocean”. Catalogue essay for Jude Griebel: Wasted. Nuremberg: Galerie Sturm.
2015 Kennedy, Christopher. “The Brothers Griebel and the Yellow House”. Catalogue essay for Yellow House: Jude Griebel and Brendan Griebel. Edmonton: dc3 Art Projects.
2018 Collins, Leah. “Miniatures that force you to look closely-really, really closely-at climate change”. CBC Arts (online), October 18
2017 Thomas, Eve. “Haunted House”. Canadian Art Magazine, fall issue
Greaves, Alicia. “Jude Griebel: Crafting Ruin”. Art + Design Magazine, issue 15
Pratt, Anne. “Exhibition Review: Jude Griebel”. Magenta Magazine, spring/summer issue
Griwkowsky, Fish. “Jude Griebel’s sculptures explode with our ruinous urges.” Edmonton Journal, March 11
2018 Visiting Critic, the School of Visual Arts, New York, USA