steel sheet, “manly” chain, “girly” yarn, female labor
This work examines the weight of gender expectations and the strength of unacknowledged female labor.
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Jen Barker is an emerging multimedia artist born in Houston, Texas. Ever since she was a child, Barker has always been an artist. Raised in an intensive religious group, her work often explores and critiques organized religion and the effect it has had on her mental health. She works in a variety of mediums but frequently returns to metalworking and an array of fiber practices. She is interested in exploring themes of mental health, racial justice, feminism, politics, nature, spirituality, and more. Barker has exhibited work at SITE Gallery, Third Space Gallery, Blaffer Art Museum, Warehouse Live, Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre, Elgin Street Studios, and Bohemeos, in Houston, Texas. Her work has been featured in Glass Mountain and Shards publications. She has interned and worked with Houston-based artists Daniel Calderon and Emily Dingmann. Barker earned her BFA in Sculpture with honors from the University of Houston in May 2022 and is currently studying for her MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Upon graduation, she intends to find a teaching position at a college or university near her home outside Detroit, Michigan while maintaining her studio practice.