Artist Bio

Jacinda Russell transforms objects into self-portraits, representations of place and symbols of fixation. She works primarily in the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, and bookmaking.  Her artwork has been exhibited nationally at Texas Gallery, DiverseWorks, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Houston Center for Photography, and Reed College. She was awarded residencies at the Ucross Foundation and Anderson Ranch. Her work is represented in the collections of the Center for Creative Photography and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Her writing is published in the book Learning to Love You More and the periodicals SPOT, Afterimage, Orlo and Art Lies. She regularly contributes to the blog Something Between Want and Desire and is a member of the Board of Directors and participant in the Postcard Collective. Born in Idaho, she received her BFA from Boise State University in Studio Art and her MFA from the University of Arizona. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Artist’s Statement

Nine Fake Cakes & Nine Bodies of Water

Jacinda Russell

2010 - 2011

I photograph worn, dilapidated objects with a history that expresses loss and sadness. These forms are ultimately self-portraits, communicating to the viewer significant memories that I am unwilling to let go. Spring 2010 featured several personal and career related disappointments and for the first time in my artistic life, I was devoted to a project that’s main premise is beauty, escapism and desire. Complete immersion in finding inviting bodies of water to float Styrofoam and acrylic-tinted, caulk cakes was a coping mechanism to come to terms with loneliness and unhappiness with place. Cakes, both real and fake, appeared to make people happy & I wondered, most simply, if they could make me happy too.

Two of the most desirous objects in 20th century art are Wayne Thiebaud’s thickly textured paintings of desserts and Ed Ruscha’s photographs of azure swimming pools. They were my biggest inspirations as I sought ways of combining them, creating a mixed media spectacle of performance art, sculpture, and photography. Ed Ruscha is a frequent reference in my artwork and the number nine was chosen in homage to his famous series Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass but I expanded the locations to include not just artificial pools of water but natural springs, the ocean, freshwater lakes, and rivers.

The sheer amount of help I received from friends and strangers, the bending of the rules to take many of the photographs, the postcards sent between each location, and the performances that ensued during the floatations are nearly as important as the images themselves. For merely nine prints, this is the most extensively documented project I have ever conceived. The cakes, many displaying the ruins of their initial floats (cracks, bleeding acrylic paint, missing decor), are displayed on glass plates accompanying the photographs. An artists’ book will soon be published documenting all aspects of the process.

Despite its beauty, Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water comes from a dark place – one that was momentarily forgotten as I traveled across the country searching for pristine water. I returned with a product that commented on the illusion of what is fake and what is real, what is happy and what is sad, and what is desirous but unattainable.

Artist’s Statement


Jacinda Russell

Autobiography started in 2002 when I collected my lunch bags because I hoped to make a book from the worn paper. Years later, they became a chronological marker that defines my life. I save until an event occurs that indicates I should stop. It could be as life changing as moving to a new part of the country or as minute as my mother buying me a blue insulated lunch bag.

I come from a family of collectors and I was taught at a very young age the importance of possessions. They define what we like to observe, what we perceive ourselves to be, what we once lost, and what we want to remember. Objects are retained to remind us of the good times more often than the bad but every once in awhile, a possession is not disposed of even if its presence is filled with negativity. 

Christian Boltanski’s inventories from the 1970s in addition to Sol Lewitt’s Autobiography 1980 are important influences. I monumentalize the mundane elevating stained lunch bags into a higher status. These inconsequential objects are one aspect of my identity, easily disposable yet somehow kept.

Artist’s Vita

Jacinda Russell



1999MFA, University of Arizona, Studio Art

1995BFA, Boise State University, Studio Art (Distinguished Honors)


2012• The Object Transformed, Shircliff Gallery of Art, Vincennes University, Vincennes, IN

2010• 3 weeks, 6 earthworks, 1 portable studio, and ALL that lies in between, Texas Gallery,

Houston, TX (Collaborative exhibition with Nancy Douthey)

2008• Library of Loss, Leeds Gallery, Earlham College, Richmond, IN


2013• The Echo of the Object, Downtown Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Four-person exhibition with Hannah Barnes, Jennifer Halvorson, and David Hannon)

The Echo of the Object, Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Art and Design, Wroclaw, Poland. (Four-person exhibition with Hannah Barnes, Jennifer Halvorson, and David Hannon)

2010• Objective Memories, Two-person exhibition with Joe D’Uva, New Harmony Gallery

of Contemporary Art, New Harmony, IN

Strange Artifacts: A Photographic and Found Object Wunderkammer, Louisiana Tech University School of Art, Ruston, LA (Two-person exhibition with Kathleen Robbins)

2008• Mergers and Acquisitions, Atlanta Contemporary Center for the Arts, Atlanta, GA (Curated by Stuart Horodner)


2012• “Nine Fake Cakes Floating in Nine Bodies of Water by Jacinda Russell,” designboom,, 28 August 2012.

• “Jacinda Russell,” I like this art,, 26 August 2012.

• Russell, Jacinda, “Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water,” Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism,, November 2011.

2010• Russeth, Andrew, “Gastro-Vision: The Best in Food-Art 2010,” art:21 blog,,

17 December 2010.


2012• Indiana Arts Commission Grant, Indianapolis, IN

• College of Fine Arts Dean’s Creative Endeavor Award, Ball State University

2011• Critical Mass Finalist for A Tale of Obsession: David C. Nolan & Marilyn Monroe


2013• A Tale of Two Obsessions: David C. Nolan and Marilyn Monroe and Arline Conradt and the Cat Scrapbook, Artist Lecture, Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis, IN

2012• A Tale of Two Obsessions: David C. Nolan & Marilyn Monroe and Arline Conradt & the Cat Scrapbook, Artist Lecture, Midwest Society for Photographic Education Conference, Cincinnati, OH

The Object Transformed, Artist Lecture, Vincennes University, Vincennes, IN

2011• Artist Stalking, Diversions Faculty Lecture Series, Ball State University

• Visiting Artist, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT


                        Reed College, Portland, OR

Nancy Holt, Galisteo, NM

Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ

                Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX


Jacinda Russell, Lake Superior: Miners Beach, Pictured Rocks, National Lakeshore, Michigan, 12 August 2010, Archival inkjet print, Image Size: 20 x 30”

Jacinda Russell