Jennifer Costa Studio

I am fascinated by form. I am equally fascinated by function. The old adage of “form follows function” is best reversed in my case to “function follows form”. I like the idea that form can stand independent from function, but I also like the idea that function has to work with form and form has to work with function. The two have to work in unison, one sometimes outweighing the other, but still working together.

Since the beginning of my art career I have created functional sculpture in some way or another. In undergraduate school I created sculptural objects out of found metal by assembling and welding various shapes together. When I was finished, these sculptural pieces just happened to have places for a person to sit, thus making them functional as well. Some were comfortable, some were not. As my knowledge about materials and techniques expanded, so did my work. In graduate school I started fabricating functional objects from scratch, no longer relying on found shapes. I was influenced by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau artists such as Eileen Gray, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Louis Majorelle and Emile Galle. They had made these amazing sculptural objects that served a double purpose. Not only were they full of intricate sculptural detail, but they were functional as well.

Now I am working on combining materials, not relying solely on wood or on steel, but using both within one piece of artwork in addition to other materials. I love detail. I love using the natural color of various woods by having them contrast and compliment one another. Concept is slowly making itself known in my work. Each piece I make is influenced from the previous one…trying to outdo it and make it better. Chairs made way for tables. Tables made way for mirrors. Mirrors made way for wall pieces with little drawers to pique the interest of the viewer. Each piece leads to another and with each piece, I learn a little more about myself, my material and my world.

Jennifer Costa
Professor of Art
Teaching Chair
Illinois Central College