Past, Present…

Jeanne Jaffe

April 20th – May 29th, 2019

How people create meaning from the complexity of sensation, memory, myth, and cultural history is the overarching theme of all of Jaffe’s work. Specifically, Jaffe uses her sculpture and installations to explore how identity is constructed from early pre-verbal bodily experience, and later influences of language and culture. The work selected for “Past, Present…” are examples of this exploration.

The pre-verbal sculptures give concrete form to intangible sensations and early bodily experiences by creating hybrid forms –fusions of animate and inanimate worlds – thus appearing simultaneously familiar, yet strange. Throughout Jaffe’s more recent body of work, well-known folktales, history, and poetry are re-imagined through a contemporary lens. This theme is specifically showcased in the “Past, Present…” exhibition as an installation based on poet T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartet’s”, a Buddhist-like meditation about letting go of all attachments.


Jeanne Jaffe is a multi-disciplinary artist who is Professor Emeritus in Multi-disciplinary Fine Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, a visiting artist/professor at Xian Academy of Fine Arts in China each fall and the coordinator of International Projects at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Ms. Jaffe is the recipient of fellowship grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Mid Atlantic/NEA, Mino Artist Residency in Japan, the Leeway Foundation and the Virginia A. Groot Foundation among many others. Works by Ms. Jaffe were reviewed in Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, and exhibited both nationally and internationally.