Jennifer Renée Caden Merdjan is best known for working with recycled shoes and exploring the boundless potential of intermixing several methods of artistry, including painting, drawing, photography, collage, digital art and printing using disparate materials. Her artwork uncovers the ground that binds human beings together as one. This ground is the passage of time and its disappearance in a culture dominated by mass production and digital technology. Merdjan’s work restores the awareness of time. It endows material objects with histories of change, or it invests disembodied subjectivity with materiality to root them in the present. Her artwork takes various final forms: two-dimensional, sculptural and installation. Merdjan also self-published an artistic book If Shoes Could Talk.
Jennifer Merdjan is an American and Argentine citizen, born and raised in NYC to immigrant parents with Sephardic ancestry that stems from Spain and Turkey. Merdjan’s artwork is part of private collections in the US and Latin America. Jennifer and her artistic shoe sculptures were featured on Univision’s Control TV show. Merdjan has also created a line of hand-painted silk scarves, which sold in boutiques throughout New York City and at the gift shop of the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Art and Design), Henri Bendel, and at a benefit auction at the Argentine consulate. Merdjan has shown her artwork across different venues through out the states including the United Nations, Plaxall Gallery, Lever House, Artisan Gallery, MFTA Gallery, Joyce Robins Gallery, Museum of Chinese in America, Barnes and Noble at The Citicorp Building, and The Urban Center. Her graphic designs reached national audiences during the time she worked in magazine and book publishing.
Merdjan received a post graduate certificate in graphic design from Parsons School of Design, a M.S. in Art Education and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Applied Arts from Queens College. During her undergraduate studies, she challenged herself and graduated with three majors and two minors in four years. Her intellectual and aesthetic curiosity in multiple disciplines has impacted her process when making art.
Additionally, she has been awarded academic grants for study at Harvard, Stanford, New York University, Yale University, Accademia di Firenze in Italy, and summer-study tours in China, Germany and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
As an educator, Merdjan has over 16 years of experience designing and implementing innovative curriculum that combines art, design and technology on the college, high school and middle school level. This year she is excited to join the faculty of M.S. 216 George J. Ryan–a National Blue Ribbon Award winning middle school. Her teaching experience also includes working at selective NYC public schools such as Bard High School Early College Queens, and Brooklyn Technical High School. In 2014 she received the Art Educator of the Year award from the New York City Art Teachers Association.