MFA | Ceramics
Jonathan Kusnerek is an interdisciplinary artist inspired by wild, strange, and magical things. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida, where he developed a love for nature and the outdoors. After being introduced to ceramics at Pensacola State College, he continued his education and earned a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jonathan enjoys music, dancing, long walks, and baking.
This body of work began as a way to process the ever-changing tides of my experience as a queer person. The objects here are about joy, sorrow, yearning, mischief, hope, fear, and the sometimes indistinguishable pair, excitement and anxiety. These are the complex emotions of navigating relationships, love, loss, and grief. The wall installation is a collection of important symbols, elements, and iconography in my narrative. The circular composition and moveable parts create a simultaneous narrative where past, present, and potential futures play out all at once.
The objects on pedestals draw influence from reliquaries, which can be characterized as a vessel or container that houses a relic. While there are a few different kinds of relics, I am most interested in what is considered a “contact relic.” These are fragments of materials imbued with energy by their contact with a sacred person or place. The “relics” that I have created these vessels for all relate to a memory or place. The narrative and symbolic imagery allude to the intangible materials bound to these objects.