Jennifer Rose spent a recent morning meticulously installing vinyl patterns to a gallery wall, an afternoon feeding her child chocolate bunny crackers and answering interview questions, and, run down by midnight, chilled with an episode of Ghost Hunters. She’s especially busy these days as she is one of the artists in CADD Art Lab’s second exhibition, “More Than This.” Her medium is vinyl cut into patterns; her canvas is any given wall. Jen earned both her Bachelor’s degree and M.F.A. at the University of North Texas and currently teaches ceramics at Richland College plus five online art appreciation classes. Her work is represented by Road Agent and, in addition to tonight’s opening at CADD Art Lab, she has an upcoming show at Mighty Fine Arts. She and husband Josh are the parents of 2-year-old Hazel, who loves Ducktales.
Your degree is in ceramics, but after becoming pregnant with your daughter, you wanted a cleaner environment for working. What was the impetus for going from ceramics to vinyl rather than to something more traditional?
It was stenciling technique. I was sitting with an Exacto knife cutting contact paper and doing tile work. I was looking for something that would cut the contact paper for me. That’s when I started doing vinyl with the plotter, which is a machine that cuts vinyl. I draw everything on the computer, send it to the plotter and go from there. Now it’s evolved so the vinyl is the finished product instead of an intermediary.
Putting things on walls makes me think of home interiors.
I definitely want to reference wallcovering. I don’t want my work to be all about decorating, but I’m using a lot of feminine imagery. If you look back at the craft tradition, that’s mainly a female movement, the only way females could express themselves. I’m trying to tie back to that. I like the decorative aspect because it relates to that history.
When you say feminine imagery, what are the images?
I’ve done several designs. Everything’s based on anatomy. This piece I’m putting up at CADD is uterus and fallopian tubes and a cross section of the blood vessels in a penis.
Do people get it?
Not if they just walk by. If they look at it for a long time they figure it out.
When you were in high school, were you more into biology or art classes?
I remember making a tough choice whether I was going to take chemistry or whether I was going to take art. I was never labeled as one of the gifted kids, so I was always with the general population. They didn’t try very hard with us. I think I would’ve really excelled if I’d been given the opportunity to learn a lot of cool stuff, but I was never in those classes. When I was in biology class in 10th grade, the teacher – he was a jock, basically – had gone fishing and caught a whole bunch of perch. He brought them in and gave us scalpels and no direction. He just said, “Cut ’em up! See what you find!”
Do you remember what you did with yours?
I poked the eyeball a lot. All of my teachers were coaches. That says something about our school system.
How did the Denton experience formulate your choices?
I was from a relatively small town in West Texas and pretty sheltered. Denton felt like, “Ah, these are my people.” Those are some really good times.
An opening reception for “More Than This” takes place Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. at CADD Art Lab, 1608 Main St. in downtown Dallas.