Jenn Egelfeld (b. 1995) Fair Lawn, NJ; is a multidisciplinary artist who works in book making, papermaking, digital fabrication, and socially engaged collaboration. Being from a small town in New Jersey, less than an hour from New York City (later moving to Tampa), Jenn has always had a relationship with heavily built urban environments, as well as well-groomed suburban landscapes. With growing concern over climate change and environmental degradation, she sought to explore the roles of human ecosystems in degrading–but also enhancing–their natural surroundings and the lives of their inhabitants. Interested in the way humans perceive nature as separate from themselves or their creations, she works to bridge that gap by likening architecture and the built landscape to botanical specimens, comparing the two, while criticizing the divide that destroys individual agency to bring about change.
Utilizing found objects and book arts, my work explores the relationship between the natural and the man made, particularly the material ambiguity surrounding objects touched by the human hand. My work is informed by the way humans think and interact with both natural and built environments, focusing predominantly on the perceptual gaps that maintain the separation between humanity, their creations, and the ecosystem.
Growing concern of climate change and environmental degradation has prompted the question of what individuals may do to mitigate these effects. While environmental action has largely been popularized as an individual pursuit, I find that the solution does not lie solely on recycling, installing solar panels, or buying local produce. My art seeks to reevaluate humanity’s place within the environment, criticizing separatist notions of man versus nature through a juxtaposition of natural and refined materials/treatments.