In Synthetic Utopist, artist Jennifer Bechak investigates the importance of recognizing how our environment is created and appreciating how it exists. She transforms the Future Tenant space by encasing the perimeter in plastic sheeting. The translucence of the material obscures information that is distinguishable to senses other than sight, and the enclosed environment produces a feeling of sterility and alienation to natural surroundings. Within her synthetic environment, a grid of linear metal structures that resemble common items represent something that is oddly ‘human-like.’
In her artist’s statement, Bechak explains that she is “interested in the ‘real self’ which lies beyond predetermined external sources as personal decisions and actions ultimately dictate who we are.” She explores the relationship of space and body in her work, as well and the ramifications of choice, emptiness and freedom. Bechak holds both an MFA and an MA in Sculpture and Fibers from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as a BFA in Printmaking from Edinboro University. Her studies have also taken her to Zagreb, Croatia, where she studied sculpture at the University of Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts. She has taught various courses in studio art and art history at Indiana University and Westmoreland College, and has exhibited locally in the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Flux 10, and Sculpture at Carnegie Steel.