AOM: Jory Cherry
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Among the various art displays from the high school’s elective classes lining the stairs of the Unified Arts Building, white clay sculptures of human anatomy stand out. They vary in size, from life-size busts of the upper body to a collection of miniature pieces. Some have the body of a man, but are clothed in bras. Others are nude sculptures. These pieces, which combine craftsmanship and commentary, are the work of senior Jory Cherry.
Starting in Ceramics I and II and progressing to the AP Portfolio art class, Cherry has focused on creating both small and large clay representations of the human figure. And while their artwork is meticulous and detailed, it contains social commentary as well. According to Cherry, their art focuses mainly on the idea of gender and how it connects to the body.
“I’m trying to understand the relationship between gender and body and understand abstract concepts like femininity and masculinity,” Cherry said. “I’m always sketching and writing down ideas in little notebooks that I carry around everywhere.”
Senior Vivian Eggleston, who takes AP Portfolio with Cherry, said that Cherry’s art is intended to evoke ideas about gender and sex.
“A lot of their pieces will be like a male body wearing a bra, and that kind of thing,” Eggleston said. “There’s a bunch of bigger pieces that are that kind of thing where it messes with your head in terms of gender norms or gender versus sex, through just having a sculpture of the body and adding clothing.”
According to Cherry, their work has caused some controversy at the high school, which emphasizes its purpose.
“An issue that’s been brought up a lot with my work in particular is censorship because the school doesn’t want to show naked bodies in public spaces,” Cherry said. “We should be more exposed to the body and less afraid of it.”
Cherry said that they started to create the various sculptures that now adorn the halls of the Unified Arts Building for their AP art class. Ceramics teacher Andrew Maglathlin, who had Cherry in Ceramics I and II, said that they came to school during Z-block to work on projects.
According to Cherry, the high school’s art teachers have been supportive and helpful to them throughout the year.
“It’s so essential to have a space where you can do the things you need to do, and Mr. and Ms. Sartanowicz are very accommodating in terms of letting me work in their classrooms far longer than I should,” Cherry said.
Maglathlin said that he is impressed by Cherry’s ability to sculpt the human figure at this fairly early stage in their artistic career.
“Jory has this great knack for just looking at what they’ve done and going onto the next step and improving it in any way that they possibly can,” Maglathlin said. “For someone Jory’s age to be making the caliber of work that Jory is making is pretty amazing.”
According to Eggleston, Cherry is a good technical artist, but possesses more intangible qualities as well.
“More important than that is creative vision and willingness to make things weird and uncomfortable and get things wrong and then fix them, so it’s not just well done, but the piece has life in itself, and Jory definitely has that,” Eggleston said.
Maglathlin said that Cherry is able to concentrate on a specific goal while remaining flexible and improving the quality of their art.
“Jory’s also got a very focused idea that they’re working towards,” Maglathlin said. “There was a lot of focus, but it was a focus that also had some openness to it and allowed them to sort of stand back and adjust and not be completely rigid.”
According to Cherry, their work in sculpture now occupies a majority of their life.
“It’s made me a lot calmer,” Cherry said. “It soothes me. It gives me time where I can meditate and it’s something that I really love doing, so it’s enjoyable.”