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Jeff Irwin
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Artist Statement

I create my art to examine and communicate the personal, political, social and environmental issues that are important to me.

By creating a type of narrative which employs recognizable images as symbols and metaphors, I aim to provide new ways of perceiving and understanding these issues. I refer to these works as symbolic narratives.

My work is also meant to provoke questioning both visually and conceptually.

I develop this narrative by placing these symbols in juxtaposition to their origins or in otherwise ironic settings. This conflict between expectation and contradiction is further reinforced by the placement of the drawings on the sculptural forms. In one area the sculptural character may be defined and strengthened by the drawings, while in other areas the form itself may be nullified. I use this pushing and pulling of space and illusion as another means of manipulating the viewer's perception. These conflicts and contradictions encourage a questioning atmosphere and direct the viewer to examine the ambiguities of reality, illusion and perception.

Another consistent theme in my work involves integrating the human presence with the narrative. Though a recognizable figure is rarely depicted, I utilize images that refer to this presence.

My use of predominately black and white is influenced by German Expressionist Wood Block Prints.

When working on ideas for pieces I look for contradiction, irony and humor in the world that surrounds me. I like to take notice of both how we impact this world and how we interpret that impact.

The Drawings are created with wax resist and some scragiffito.

The White Work:


Inspired by animal trophies and taxidermy books I have created a series of all white tree like animals which are meant to represent our manipulation of nature and our need to idealize that manipulation. For me the work alludes to power, ego, preciousness and loss.

The other series of white work involves the twisting of tree like forms into various geometric and symbolic shapes. Here the manipulation is more direct as well as symbolic.

White as a color or absence of color brings with it connotations of simplicity, clarity, spirituality, and transcendence between life and death.

The Digital Toner Work:


This work is created through processes of direct laser transfer or laser print decals on glazed surfaces.

Jeff Irwin
Last Updated: 11/25/2014
  • GCCCD
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District