I have a very labor-intensive and detail-oriented way of working, in which craftsmanship and material choices play a large role. My sculptures address issues of physical and mental health/illness, class, memory, and social interaction. Much of my subject matter is drawn from my familial history. Often my work starts as a lingering feeling or impression that defies words and imagery. I spend a long time meditating on this sentiment, turning it over and over in my mind like a worry stone. It is important for me to hunt down the perfect metaphors and representations until I find one that resonates.
Crystal Schenk received an MFA from Portland State University in 2007, and BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon, USA. She is an adjunct professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland State University.
Schenk’s artwork has been published in Sculpture and Craft magazines. She was awarded the International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award for 2006, and was subsequently selected as the recipient of ISC’s artist in residency program at Art-st-urban in Switzerland. Since then she has repeatedly returned to make new sculptural works, which are featured in a permanent solo exhibition at Art-st-urban. In 2009 Art-st-urban awarded Schenk with the institution’s first Emerging Sculptor Award. Schenk’s work was represented at the Oregon biennial, Portland 2010. She is currently working on a public commission for Division Street in Portland, Oregon with her collaborator and husband Shelby Davis.