Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I mentioned one work installed at the Fabric Workshop yesterday and today I mention one of my favorite pieces that I saw the entire weekend in Philly. It is the single channel video in the Fabric Workshop's more traditional street level gallery by L.A. based artist and professor Jennifer Steinkamp.

When I walked into the gallery I was powerfully stopped from my rushing around and hectic brain to just observe the digitally produced fabric waving and fluttering in the breeze. No sound but our own silence.

In truth I LOVE video when it works and as all of us do I just hate it when it does not. The installation Moth really works. Jennifer was inspired to do this piece, the first that I know of about fabric, by a conversation she had with Kippy Stroud of the Fabric Workshop after Kippy killed a moth. The piece is in Jennifer's words "for the moth."

Indeed the story behind the work makes for a lovely and charming anecdote. The idea of a moth in the fabric workshop is both humorous and terrifying. But the strength of the work leaves this all behind.

The power of the work is the simplicity of the fabric moving in the digital breeze, the worn out/eaten away holes testifying to the fabrics fragility and therefore our own and the silence of the room and potentially a moment of silence in ourselves. I once made a video of a curtain in my first NYC apartment flowing in the wind, lit by the street lamp outside, the only sound the distant noises of the street 5 floors down and though this piece never really became anything it is still one of my favorite things that I have ever made. A moving photograph of a simple moment.

Jennifer has a huge amount of work to view and see on her website all with a very similar feeling and energy. Though I must say that her most recent works the above discussed moth and Cultured, a similar video of slightly swaying baubles, work best for me. The ordinary but personal weight of these materials seems more powerful then the nature themed work of her portfolio, thought this work is pretty amazing too. The beauty and stillness in nature is more obvious to me and as a viewer I like to be reminded and told about what is not as as obvious. Cultured and Moth do this, they invite me to stop.

You can watch moth here. And see all of her videos here.


Connie Rose said...

Jennifer's work is SO amazing, like visual meditation. I love it, thanks for sharing with us!

Joetta M. said...

i know totally wonderful right?