Jo Zider, Texas Sculpture Group
From Houston, Texas
My work is inspired by an altered perspective of history, political policies and events; from journalists and artists who bring these matters to our attention. One of my strongest influences is Alfredo Jaar, who calls attention to the role of the artist as a witness to the cultural and social world around him. The artists' work must be placed in context as they are socially and politically engaged in order to gain a greater understanding of the ways artists grapple with difficult subject matter. I do not shy away from difficult subjects; I face them directly in my work such as the series Children Stories: How Do We Grow Unwanted Children (abortion rights, immigration), Kigali (rape and genocide), The Mortgage Lenders (failed policies that lead to thousands losing their homes in 2008), and Compassion (intolerance of cultural and religious differences among people). I feel it is the artist's responsibility to use their platform to speak to these issues. It was not until I read Howard Zinn's book " Voices of a People's History of the United States" that I realized my education had been seriously lacking in truthfulness and depth.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, after three years at Michigan State University, I came to Texas via Europe and continued my education at The University of Houston, completing degrees in Education and Fine Arts. Simultaneously I taught art at the secondary level and ran Studio 39 full time. Currently retired from teaching and working full time at assemblage and installation, in multiple media.