Cool, glistening, and vaguely human, Jennifer Crupi’s sculpture and jewelry arouse curiosity even as they evoke fear. While the power of body language in art is typically linked with dance, theater, and especially mime, the interplay between thought and gesture takes center stage in Crupi’s work. At rest, her devices appear innocuous and unassuming. Once viewers engage their bodies, her devices become an edgy means to probe behavior, with its underlying psychological states and motives.

Degrees of Certainty-Gesture Server, 1998
Nickel-plated bronze, acrylic
20 x 18 x 18″

Works from her Guarded Gestures series, for example, hang on frosted mirrors that are traced with the outline of a person bearing the same posture. When viewers align themselves with the reflections or wear the pendants, however, they realize the shielding nature of the stances and confront their own body language.

Just as her objects mask their real function, they reveal the often hidden meaning behind posture and speech. Their bracelike components freeze moving arms and other body parts, suggesting not only medical prosthetics and surgical instruments but also protection and constriction. In this dialogue between stimulus and response, Coup seeks to penetrate the old proverb “Actions speak louder than words.” It could equally be said that her psychologically charged works warn against becoming “prisoners of one’s actions.”

Guarded Neckpiece #2, 2000
Sterling silver, foam
15 x 6 x 5″
Posture Gauge Series-Chin, 2001
Sterling silver, steel, copper
12 x 6 x 5″
Guarded Gesture #3, 2000
Silkscreened mirror, frosted glass, painted wood, sterling silver, wood
19 x 32 x 32″