* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Jim Arendt, Director of the Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery, is an artist whose work explores the shifting paradigms of labor and place through narrative figure painting, drawing, prints, fabric and sculpture. Influenced by the radical reshaping of the rural and industrial landscapes he grew up in, he investigates how individual lives are affected by transitions in economic structures.
Jim explains his work by saying, “Art making is a way for me to explore how we relate to work. I’ve paid witness to the demise of opportunities to engage in meaningful work and seen cities ravaged by the absence of industry. As the landscape of work and labor continue to shift around us, I use art making as a way to investigate how the division of labor and alienation from work has impacted individual lives. Casting the people I know best into the center of my work, I explore how the changing landscape of work and labor has defined them, not as they were or are, but as I know them to be. I choose materials seeks to create a greater relevancy between content and form. Denim was created to be abused, worn out, patched, stained, and burnt through. Its characteristics are mirrored in the individuals I choose to represent. Yet, jeans remain supple, and with the right pair of boots can still go to the ball. I like that. Still, it’s damn hard to make pictures out of it. I guess I like that, too.”
Arendt was short-listed for The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art and a 2018 finalist for the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA.
He has work include in the Arkansas Art Center’s permanent collection of contemporary craft.