Born in 1974 in Pittsburgh, PA, Courtney Kessel currently teaches in the School of Art at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art in 1998 and completed an MFA in Sculpture & Expanded Practices and a certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies in 2012 from Ohio University. She studied at Temple University Rome, Italy from 1995-1996.
Kessel has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including the Tampa Museum of Art, Exit Art, New York, NY, St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art and with the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. She was included in Renegades: 25 Years of Performance at Exit Art (2007) and selected as one of five students in Ohio representing MFA programs statewide in State of the MFA (2010) at the Ohio State University’s Urban Art Space. The town of Winona Lake, Indiana has acquired the sculpture, Words of Kindness for their Heritage Trail (2007).
Through sculpture, performance, video, and sound, Courtney Kessel’s work strives to make visible the quiet, understated, and often unseen love and labor of motherhood. Her work transcends the local binary of public/ private and extends into the repositioning of the ongoing, non-narrative, excessive dialogic flow that occurs within the domestic space. Kessel examines language and maternity through a feminist lens thereby opening a dialog between what is seen and not seen.