ARTIST BIO

Hattie Eshleman is an interdisciplinary artist and metalsmith from Lynchburg, Virginia. Her work has been shown in several local exhibitions including the Larkin Juried Regional show and a solo exhibition in the Grace Street gallery. She has been awarded the CVPA research grant and has also recently been nominated for the Windgate Fellowship award.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Adornment has been a human impulse and tradition for millennia and is universal to all human cultures. When we wear jewelry, we not only physically attach it to our bodies but we also use it to mark our emotions and experiences. I explore and emphasize these relationships using adornment to have a conversation about the body and the human experience.  

The objects that we wear are beautiful, but the human experience can be dark and traumatic. In nearly all of my work, there is a tension between the beautiful and the grotesque. I deal with subject matter that makes most people uncomfortable - references to the body with preference to its internal elements, and adding visuals that evoke blood and tissue - but I do it in a whimsical style, expressing existential themes through a lens of humor and playfulness.

This is certainly true of my most recent project: the External Organs Series. The series takes a look at the relationship that exists between jewelry and the body, drawing attention to the connection between the two and disrupting its expected patterns. I am turning the wearer inside out. I have constructed forms that resemble the interior space of the body and placed them on the exterior as adornment. It is a conversation about vulnerability and human experience. It is a conversation that both challenges and celebrates the history and conventions of adornment.

Pendant from the External Organs Series; copper, powdercoating, resin, experimental materials, 2.5" x 4"
From the External Organs Series
Pendant from the External Organs Series; copper, powdercoating, resin, experimental materials, 2.5" x 4"
From the External Organs Series
Brooch from the External Organs Series; copper, powdercoating, resin, experimental materials, 2.5"x4"
The Subtle Knot that Makes Us Man, inspired by John Dunne's The Ecstasy  
The Subtle Knot that Makes Us Man; ancient bronze (induction cast), fabric, 7"x12"
The Subtle Knot that Makes Us Man, inspired by John Dunne's The Ecstasy  

Back to Top