b. 1958, USA

Jennifer Steinkamp Biography

Transient and hypnotic forests of organic and synthetic moving shapes make up much of American artist Jennifer Steinkamp's digital animations, which have been projected in public spaces and galleries internationally.

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Early Life and Career

Born in Denver, Colorado, Jennifer Steinkamp studied at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, completing a BFA in 1989 and an MFA in 1991. Among her key instructors were American artist Mike Kelley and colour theorist Judy Crook. She later received an honorary doctorate from that same institution in 2011.

Jennifer Steinkamp's College of Design teachers, as well as earlier teachers like Miss Znerold, who commended Steinkamp for her painted trees in the first grade, have been immortalised in the artist's digital tree works made from the mid-2000s.

Digital Installations

From the outset, Jennifer Steinkamp has worked with large-scale projections of computer animation—indoors and out—to explore ideas about architectural settings, space, motion, and perception. Initially, the dominant direction of her work lay in mesmerising cloudscapes and abstract patterns of shifting colours.

Towards the mid-2000s, Jennifer Steinkamp's video installations moved towards more detailed animations of organic and abstract forms in motion. Incorporating trees, flowers, rocks, fruit, floating fabrics, and various organisms, her works draw upon Dutch still life painting, nature photography, and scientific illustrations.

Jennifer Steinkamp's Blind Eye and more

Site-specific, Steinkamp's video installations often respond to their architectural and environmental settings. Specifically designed for a show at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Blind Eye 1 (2018) presents a life-sized projection of a swaying grove of birch trees, evocative of the building's arboreal surroundings. The immersive work takes up the full span of a wall in the Tadao Ando-designed building, blurring boundaries between real and illusionistic space.

In Winter Fountains (2018), a temporary outdoor commission for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Steinkamp references Benjamin Franklin's electrical research. Animations projected on four domes along the parkway simulate the movement of the electrified particles in clouds that creates conditions for lightning.

Combining nature with the personal, Steinkamp's various series of flowering trees have also paid homage to influential figures in her life. In 2007, Jennifer Steinkamp's 'Mike Kelley', paid homage to her late mentor through a series of 17 variants of a tree seen through the seasons.

Process and Narrative

Jennifer Steinkamp's means of creating is entirely digital from start to finish. Her software, called Maya, allows the artist to create branching forms—including trees, hands, veins, and flowers—that are automatically wrapped with a texture. Often her installations, while durational, may only run on ten-second loops in constant rhythm.

While presenting constantly moving and changing entities, the format of her work is cyclical and non-narrative. As she explains in Artforum, ' I don't have a beginning, a middle, or an end. It's more of a continuation.' Patterns of life and seasonal change are played out in infinite loops.

This has not prevented the artist's works from conveying stories or underlying commentaries on topical subjects. Jennifer Steinkamp's Lehmann Maupin show Impeach (2019) featured a work where a myriad of peaches and other fruits hurl themselves at an invisible wall as if eager to take action amidst recent political events in the U.S.

Exhibitions

Jennifer Steinkamp's solo exhibitions include Souls, Lehmann Maupin, Seoul (2020); Silence Dogood, Wynn Hotel, Macau (2019); Mike Kelley Projections, Museum of Fine Arts Houston (2014); Madame Curie, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2011); Jennifer Steinkamp, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo (2008); and Jennifer Steinkamp: Rock Formation, Denver Art Museum (2006).

Steinkamp's group exhibitions include Axis of Horizon, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul (2020); Among the Trees, The Hayward Gallery, London (2020); Space Exploration, Gyeongnam Art Museum, South Korea (2019); Momentum: An Experiment in the Unexpected, San Jose Museum of Art (2014); Blink! Light, Sound and the Moving Image, Denver Art Museum (2011); The Artist's Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) (2010); California Video, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2008); and Visual Music, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (2005).

Jennifer Steinkamp's website can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Jennifer Steinkamp Featured Artworks

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Fly to Mars 9 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Jennifer Steinkamp Fly to Mars 9, 2010 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Womb 1 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Jennifer Steinkamp Womb 1, 2018 Interactive installation of VR equipment
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Primordial, 1 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Jennifer Steinkamp Primordial, 1, 2020 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Blind Eye 4 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Jennifer Steinkamp Blind Eye 4, 2019 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Still-Life 1 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork installation
Jennifer Steinkamp Still-Life 1, 2016 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Blind Eye 2 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork installation
Jennifer Steinkamp Blind Eye 2, 2018 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Blind Eye 3 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork installation
Jennifer Steinkamp Blind Eye 3, 2019 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
Impeach 1 by Jennifer Steinkamp contemporary artwork installation, moving image
Jennifer Steinkamp Impeach 1, 2019 Video installation
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery

Jennifer Steinkamp Recent Exhibitions

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Jennifer Steinkamp Represented By

Lehmann Maupin contemporary art gallery in 536 West 22nd Street, New York, USA Lehmann Maupin Beijing, Hong Kong, London, New York, Seoul

Jennifer Steinkamp In Ocula Magazine

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