Jo Meisner is an emerging artist based in Sydney. Her practice spans photography, installation and sculptural assemblage and probes contemporary notions of identity. The Crowd and the Individual are two concepts that Meisner returns to as subjects in her work, which has variously focused on the cultural and social impact of forced migration and the fabric of the individual psyche. Her own personal experiences of institutionalization as a teenager and growing up as the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants are formative influences on her work to date.
Meisner playfully aligns her practice with the history of figurative painting as well as the traditions of street photography and the history of textile manufacture. Processes of swaddling, pinning and wrapping are central to her sculptural practice and are material concerns that recall the act of “mothering” in the development of the individual. The ordinary scene of a crowd in transit is a repeated motif in Meisner’s work, which is characterized by the representation of anonymous figures observed from the rear and side view. From the context of the crowd, individuals are isolated and replaced by mirrors, shadows and tactile reliefs; in this way the figure becomes a surrogate for psychological introspection and self-identification and allows her work to be read as a means of oblique self-portraiture.