Jude Griebel

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education

 

2014    Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Ceramics, Concordia University, Canada

2012    MFA International Exchange, University of Lapland, Finland

 

Selected Exhibitions

 

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

 

Publications

 

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.

 

Bibliography

 

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

 

Work Experience

 

2018    Visiting Critic, the School of Visual Arts, New York, USA