Statement and Bio
I create jewelry and sculpture informed by my female experience and how advertisements, popular culture, beauty products, and fashion trends portray what women need or want. Ornate mirror frames, tools used for beautification, faceted gems, and the human body, inspire the design of these objects. The surfaces of the work are often lace patterned and at times include actual crocheted elements. I include crochet for it’s lacey, frilly appearance, my interest in the technique, but also because it’s historically viewed as a women’s skill. Color is incorporated primarily to reference human flesh, cosmetics, the body, and blood. Materials such as skin toned rubber and mirrors reference the human body, self-examination, and vanity. Other materials like pearls, gems, feathers, enamel, hair, silver, and gold are chosen for their aesthetic qualities, emotional resonance, preciousness, and value associations.
I aim for my work to be both beautiful and playful and at times even absurd or humorous; it addresses my own repulsion, frustration, and at the same time attraction to gender based expectations.
Jill Baker Gower is an active artist, metalsmith, and educator who resides near Dallas, TX. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Metals from Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. She is originally from the Chicago area.
Jill has taught metals and jewelry courses and workshops at universities, craft schools, and colleges across the U.S. She was an associate professor of art with tenure at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., where she headed the metals program from 2007 to 2018. Jill has exhibited her one-of-a-kind studio jewelry and sculpture in numerous exhibitions nationwide. In 2019, she had a solo exhibition at the Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. Her work has been published in Metalsmith magazine, the book CAST, Little Dreams in Glass and Metal: Enameling in America 1920 to the Present, and is in the permanent collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Penn., the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., the Metal Museum, Memphis, Tenn., The Enamel Arts Foundation, Los Angeles, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Jill is a former resident artist of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tenn. She served on the Board of Directors for the Society of North American Goldsmiths, SNAG, from 2016 to 2019. In 2015, Jill received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship.