On daily walks through the woods, Jordan Tierney looks for life amid the discard. With her pit-mutt Stuart, the artist treks creek-side paths, veering occasionally onto trails that the deer have made. She picks up bits of weathered glass, obscure metal car parts, broken dinnerware, animal bones and feathers, depositing them in her backpack, which also totes a saw and a hatchet in case she encounters a particularly gnarly piece of dead wood. These materials become the components for all of her sculptures, which often resemble tools used in ritual or monumental entities harboring a secret energy or ancient knowledge.
This practice of collecting is like “looking for everything and nothing,” Tierney says, “because then you’re open to surprises, and you’re not disappointed if you don’t find what you thought you were looking for.” It’s hard to put into words what leads her to pluck specific fragmentary treasures out of a stream and lug them back to her North Baltimore studio. “I don’t think anything literal,” Tierney says, picking up a metal cylinder that she suspects is part of a shock absorber. “I feel, does this have juju?”