Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Finding her place: Catapult artist’s exhibit explores landscapes

Sunday, October 4, 2020
Jennifer Torres, associate professor of sculpture and ceramics at the University Southern Mississippi, displayed her exhibition piece at Catapult Creative House through the month of September. Viewers were able to see her work titled “Mental Landscapes.”
Photo by Hannah Radden

Just a few steps through the glass doors of Catapult Creative House stood a work of art by Jennifer Torres. The first piece sighted held a small blue box on a wooden frame. The work of art placed a city on the top and a hidden forest landscape inside. It was one of many in her series that conveyed the idea of entering a new world.

Catapult Creative House invited Torres, associate professor of sculpture and ceramics at the University Southern Mississippi, to display her creative works for the month of September. The exhibit, titled “Mental Landscapes,” employed an interesting use of 3D art and artistic sketches.

The inspiration for this exhibition drew from her examination of landscapes from a variety of angles such as environmental issues and the way people experience landscapes. Torres said the main idea of it all is understanding one’s own place in space and time.

“I was born in the city, but my family always spent our holidays camping in tents in the state parks around upstate New York and seashore in New Jersey,” Torres said. “So, I always have this love. On one hand, I want to be in the trees and in the rural area, but then on the other hand, I want to be in the city where there is culture and excitement.”

The exhibit showcased many pieces scattered along the walls or along the floor, which furthered the representation of diversity in landscapes.

Several pieces were arranged in various sizes. The pieces depicted buildings or the architectural layout of buildings, a landscape of a forest, or a combination of both landscape and buildings.

Torres said she has worked with a variety of mediums in her time as an artist and has no particular favorite. She has worked with all sorts of materials such as wood, steel and casts.

“When I wake up in the middle of the night with that vision of a piece, I don’t worry what I am going to make it out of,” Torres said. “I quickly draw it so I get it out of my head and can go back to bed, and then I wake up and draw again and get it down in my sketchbook. Then I think, ‘Oh, what would be the best thing to make this out of, how big do I want it, what resources do I have?’

Torres has been an artist since she was a teenager and spent most of her life growing up in New York City. There, she completed her undergraduate degree and five years later completed her graduate degree at the University of Georgia.

Her next career move placed her in Southern Mississippi for the past 21 years.

“When you work in the visual arts and the studio arts, you go where the jobs are,” Torres said.

For new and aspiring artists looking to work with three-dimensional materials, Torres said to not be afraid to try a variety of mediums.

“I guess I would also say, ‘Try not to label yourself as one or the other,’” Torres said. “When people ask what I do, I say, ‘I am an artist.’ I don’t say I’m a sculptor or writer or poet or an artist, because I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into only one thing.”

Torres said when it comes to these new skills, it's important to not only learn, but to also fail.

“It is through failure where we learn how to do it right,” Torres said.“As long as you give yourself that time, I think you can learn anything.”

Catapult Creative House is preparing to set up their next exhibition. For more information, visit their website at https://catapultsemo.com/

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