Get to know Jennifer Anne Kelly and Michelle Cieloszczyk 2021 Award Recipients
February 17, 2022
Today’s feature is a nod to outstanding TOAF artists using 3-dimensional forms to communicate their stories and reflections.
First, let us offer you an escape into the magical and whimsical sculptures of Jennifer Anne Kelly and her delicate glass terrariums. Her works nudge us to appreciate the gentle elegance of the natural world around us. Jennifer is the recipient of the Best of 3D Works Award of $2,000 generously supported by the Greenrock Charitable Trust in memory of Al Green.
Michelle Cieloszczyk has had an illustrious journey at TOAF since her first showcase as an OCAD U student. She took home the Best of 3D Works in 2018 and is currently a featured artist in BEING+, an exhibition curated by Abisola Oni. It has been a treat to witness the expansion of Michelle’s artistic practice over the years and how she expresses her thoughtful concepts and social commentary through the expert use of unique materials. Receiving the Most Innovative Use of Material Award, supported by Lonsdale Gallery, is definitely well-deserved.
Congratulations, Jennifer and Michelle! We hope you enjoy exploring their works.
Jennifer Anne Kelly - 2021 Best of 3D Works
"Jennifer Anne Kelly's glass kaleidoscopes and terrariums are playful and contemplative. Functioning as story boxes, they capture and reflect our relationship to ornamentation and the natural world."
- Maria Hupfield, Anishinaabe Artist of Wasauksing First Nation and 2021 Judge of Best of 3D Works
About Jennifer's work, in her own words...
"Calming and optimistic forms and colours are inspired by my interest in all things mystical. Small worlds that exist on a mossy forest floor, the spirit of a bird, and romantic historical artifacts influence my narrative. I enjoy exploring other mediums but always with the intent of translating or forming with glass. The creative process is a ritual that offers the greatest satisfaction. Through glass I can see our natural world as a magical, peaceful place.
My work in sculptural glass intrigues me as it challenges the capabilities of kiln forming by relying on volume, shape, and gravity to create dimension. The ethereal qualities of glass married with the fascinating science of its behaviour is endlessly intriguing. I am thankful for the ability to share my visual expression."
On receiving the award...
"The beginning of the pandemic was also the beginning of many physical challenges. When I was able to walk, I would go to the woods and look for other worlds where there was no sign of all the trauma that we were experiencing globally, and I was experiencing within my own body. These other worlds of moss and mushrooms became my mental sanctuary, and I translated them into glass. The timing and emotional thrill of receiving this award has been a turning point in my journey back to health and full time work in my studio. The recognition gave me renewed vigour and validation after so many months working alone. It was such a great example of a silver lining! The award has given me the confidence to reach further, and apply for new opportunities. Thank you so much to The Greenrock Charitable Trust for the generous gift, and for demonstrating the importance of art and the imagination. A big thank you to Judge Maria Hupfield; her words were so delightful. I am now on the mend physically, and look forward to boldly creating and participating in the next Toronto Outdoor Art Fair."
Michelle Cieloszczyk - 2021 Most Innovative Use of Material Award
"With her innovative use of materials, Michelle imbues added tension and interest into her subjects. Her work looks at uniforms of police/military, casting them in hyper-real detail out of semi-translucent, soft materials. This material play makes us question the stability, the value, the iconography, of these symbols. I was particularly taken with her piece “Floppy Cap in Peach”. Her soft cast of a police cap renders it fleshy and impotent.
I believe Michelle’s works best represents the award for ‘Most Innovative Use of Material’, not only because of her mastery of these materials, but because of the interconnectedness of the materiality of her work to its subject."
- Stanzie Tooth, Artist and 2021 Judge of Most Innovated Use of Material
On receiving the award...
"Winning the Most Innovative Use of Material Award is an honour! It’s lovely when the thought and effort you put into creation is appreciated, especially throughout a virtual fair since I’m not seeing how people are engaging with my works. Typically I love having conversations in person, which is particularly important in political practices. I prioritize the messaging in my work, often facing difficult subjects which can mean that my work is destined as a conversation piece. Sculpture as a medium is expensive, as are studio rentals in Toronto. This is where support in the form of monetary awards can help artists sustain their practices, especially while living in a big city. I’m so grateful to Lonsdale Gallery for contributing to the TOAF community, Stanzie Tooth for selecting, and the TOAF team for their dedication to supporting local talent."
Michelle is currently one of the artists in BEING+, an online exhibition about situating the self within society, curated by Abisola Oni.
On what she's up to and what's coming up...
"At the end of March, I'm exhibiting a couple of pieces in an exhibition curated by Daniel Griffin Hunt at The Plumb. Carapace Pillar is going to be on exhibit at The Artist Project, April 21-24. I'm also working on a TAC grant-funded project continuing the Carapace series with three pillars in a slightly different approach."