Jessica Pleyel is a conceptual artist and curator from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her work is an exploration of the dichotomy between predator and prey, the powerful connections of family and communities, and art-based activism’s role within the intersectional feminist community. She investigates how connections between advocates, activists, family and communities form, and how the individual voices become empowered and brazened when brought together through collaboration. Pleyel explores these and further themes through an interdisciplinary approach of performance, sculpture, storytelling, installation and video.
Whether it is repairing and creating a strong relationship with her father, advocating alongside other sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, or searching for the legacy of her Cajun grandmother Beulah along with the five hundred others in the mass unmarked grave in post-Katrina New Orleans, an imperative aspect of Pleyel's work is igniting dialogues on some of the wicked complications in our society.
Pleyel's work has been exhibited internationally in galleries such as The Article Gallery in Birmingham, United Kingdom, The Beauty and Brawn Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and Davis Arts Center in Davis, California. She has received awards such as the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, the Obermann Graduate Senior Fellowship, and the Ana Mendieta Memorial Scholarship. She is currently researching and teaching Sculpture, Intermedia and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa.