Associate Dean of Fine Arts
Associate Professor of Art
J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences
(ARSC)-Arts & Sciences
Jeannie Hulen is Chair of the Department of Art and Associate Professor of Ceramics at the University of Arkansas. In 1995 she received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and in 2000 a MFA from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. She has held solo exhibitions in Taiwan, Houston, TX, Grand Rapids, MI, Utica, NY, Kansas City, MO, and Fayetteville, AR. She has participated in many national group exhibitions including shows in conjunction with the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts from 2007-2011. In Fall 2009 she was a Resident Visiting Artist at the Graduate Institute of Applied Arts, Tainan National University of The Arts in Tainan, Taiwan. In Taiwan she produced a body of work called “Made in Taiwan.” The work examined the current relationship between the United States and Taiwan, through the use of slip-cast toys and hand-made ceramic figures, historically referential of Japanese haniwa soldiers, Chinese terracotta warriors and plastic toy soldiers from the United States.
“Made in the USA,” exhibited in the Walton Art Center in February-April 2012 was a companion installation to “Made in Taiwan.” This work is increasingly personal and relates to previous series of work, critiquing the excessive consumerism inherent in capitalist systems. The work also challenges the status quo by taking part in the critical discussion of gender as related to “the personal,” through the use of mundane materials, hand-sewn components, personal imagery and family portraits. “Cute” ribbons and toys are employed in the work, capitalizing on the visual pleasure, and using the “prettiness” or “cuteness” to engage the viewer. Other visual elements play on gender conventions, through materials and cast objects marked as girl or boy. Marked objects are redefined by adding subtle references, masculine-zing pink, or enhancing the dual-gender purpose of yellow through object modification, creating trans-gendered objects. The sexualizing and politicizing of these children’s toys provokes uneasiness in the viewer after they have been seduced by the color and cuteness.
“Teletubbies, the Apocalypse, and the Search for Beauty and Truth: Gibberish,” is an evolution away from the industrial products made through ceramic slipcasting and a move toward the use of material for its inherent visual narrative of describing geologic time. At play is the use of materials that visually explain the complexity of the “faux” world which we inhabit.