Jennifer Trask is an alchemist. She turns fauna into flora, animate into inanimate, past into present. Jennifer Trask is a sculptor, notable for dense assemblages—both freestanding and in relief—that combine animal bones with wooden baroque ornament and gold. Jennifer Trask is a jeweler, who uses precious metals and gemstones, sometimes mixed with buffalo teeth or beetles, to fabricate elegant brooches and earrings. Chemistry, biology, and taxonomy are endemic to her practice. Reminiscent of Renaissance “cabinets of curiosities,” early necklaces and bracelets were formed from encapsulated matter like dragonfly wings, pure pigment, metal powder, and glass taxidermy eyes. Likewise, recalling 16th and 17th century Dutch “Vanitas” paintings, framed tableaux of carved and layered encaustic house detachable brooches of precious metal and stones, such as opal, carnelian, and diamonds, along with snake vertebrae. Although dynamic in their entirety, these botanical wall-hangings exist independently, as well; each is a fully resolved artwork, even after the jewel is removed for wear. Trask also thinks large when it comes to jewelry. Dramatic neckpieces of deer antler, wooden frame fragments, and gold leaf hug the neck ergonomically when worn.
Trask is the recipient of a BFA in Metalsmithing from Massachusetts College of Art and MFA from SUNY New Paltz. For the past twenty years, she has exhibited both nationally and internationally. She was one of four specially-selected multimedia artists included in the Renwick Invitational 2016: Visions and Revisions. Along with the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., works by Trask are in the collections of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas and Museum of Arts and Design and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.