Making sculpture is a way for me to express internal landscapes outside of myself. It is primarily a pursuit of optimism, a means of transforming despair into something hopeful and inner turmoil into orderly structure. I use waste materials like cardboard and wood scraps because I am interested in the idea that discarded things can be given afterlives that embody something positive and life-affirming; incorporating social elements such as exchange and collaboration, my work explores how far the transformation of materials can be taken – not just in a physical sense but in less tangible ways that become intentions and desired outcomes embedded in the sculptural object.
I draw influence from a wide range of architectural forms, including model cities, neolithic dwellings, and temporary living structures of all kinds. My recent works have centred around the theme of the shelter, which represents both a physical and mental space of refuge and safety as a strategy for survival. The creation of these protective spaces, however symbolic, feels particularly important to me at this moment of pandemic, climate crisis, and social inequality. The shelter embodies the desire and will to adapt to living on a damaged planet, and is an expression of my hope for life, both human and non-human alike.
Jen Candela is a visual artist who works primarily in sculptural installation and photography. She is a recent graduate of ECUAD and lives and works in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples