Tag Archives: Jennifer West

Aquatopia: Rolling in the deep with Grad Art alumna Jennifer West

"Heavy Metal Sharks Calming Jaws Reversal Film" (2011) by Jennifer West. Super 8 print transferred to hi definition video with sound.

“Heavy Metal Sharks Calming Jaws Reversal Film” (2011) by Jennifer West. Super 8 print transferred to hi definition video with sound.

With 90 percent of the earth’s oceans yet to be explored, “the deep” is and has always been a place of mystery, fear, desire—and wild imagination. One Art Center alum who’s creatively plumbed this furtive, fertile territory is Jennifer West ’04 (Graduate Fine Art). Her recent multimedia work, “Heavy Metal Sharks Calming Jaws Reversal Film” (2011) is featured in Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep, a major exhibition that opened this past weekend at the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, England, continuing through September 22.

Bringing together more than 150 contemporary and historic artworks, Aquatopia explores how “the deep” has been imagined through time and across cultures. Sea monsters, sirens, sperm whales, giant squids, octopi, submarines, drowned sailors and shipwrecks are all portrayed. In a show that includes iconic works by JMW Turner, Odilon Redon, Hokusai, Barbara Hepworth and Oskar Kokoschka, West finds herself in prestigious company.

West is known for her digitized films that are made by hand-manipulating film celluloid, and the description of materials and processes she used to create “Heavy Metal Sharks Calming Jaws Reversal Film” tells a story in itself: “Faded pink super 8 film print — library copy of select scenes from “Jaws” — from Lorain, Ohio public library — treated with black fabric dye enriched with heavy metals: iron and zinc vitamins, celluloid grated with stone, whipped with hair headbanging, impressed with thumb and pink prints devil ears. Super 8 print transferred to hi definition video with sound.” Total running time: 6 minutes, 47 seconds.

In reviewing a previous show of the artist’s work, Wendy Vogel noted on Artforum.com, “Like her experimental predecessors, West forgoes narrative cohesion in favor of creating jumpy cuts and abstract visual collages — splicing, rolling, and drenching the celluloid using materials from Mylar tape to pickle juice, whiskey to candle smoke.” Writing on West’s work in Frieze, Joanna Kleinberg observed how “the intermingling of materiality, feeling and identity creates a wild blend of synaesthetic experience wherein the substances of life literally and figuratively colour the film.”

Born in Topanga, Calif., West lives and works in Los Angeles. Before earning her MFA at Art Center, she received a BFA from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. She has had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in Europe, Asia and the U.S., and has done commissioned projects for exhibitions at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, the Aspen Art Museum and the Tate Modern. West also creates “zines” — DIY photo booklets of production stills of the making of her films — in conjunction with her exhibitions.

Curated by Alex Farquharson, Aquatopia is a collaboration with Tate St Ives in Cornwall, where it will be on view from October 2013 to January 2014.

“Like” Jennifer’s film on Facebook!

Art Center Alumni Reminisce About Mike Kelley in the “L.A. Times”

Last month, the Art Center community was stunned at the news that legendary artist Mike Kelley, who had taught in Art Center’s Graduate Art program from 1992—2007, had died.

At the time, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Chair of the Grad Art program at Art Center, said, “Recognized as an important artist almost from the very beginning of his career, Mike kept teaching as long as he could before the pressures of being very famous indeed made it simply impossible for him to come to school with any regularity at all. He was, both in general and as a colleague, a brilliant combination of passion regarding art and a sense of humor… He has left us devastated.”

While much of the news following Kelley’s death focused on his cultural impact on the international art world, Sunday’s L.A. Times featured Art Center alumni reminiscing about their former teacher, who was “generous, patient, sometimes harsh but above all, eager to engage and share with fellow creators.”

Art Center would like to acknowledge our alumni–all celebrated artists themselves–and thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with the L.A. Times.

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

From the Art Center Archives: Faculty critique work by Steve Roden GART '89. Pictured (L to R) circa 1989: Laurence Dreiband, Richard Hertz, Sabina Ott, Stephen Prina, Mike Kelley and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe. Image (c) Art Center College of Design/Steven A. Heller

UPDATE (3/15/12): Steve Roden, the student whose work was being critiqued in the above picture, recently blogged about seeing this photograph in the Los Angeles Times.

Now Showing: Grad Art Alumni and Faculty

Our Graduate Art Department members and alums have been busy this summer! A few current exhibits:

Emilie Halpern, Marble Letter

  • Through August 7: Alumnus Brian Kennon has a solo exhibit, Group Shows, at Steve Turner Contemporary.
  • July 30 through August 20: Alumnus Tad Beck is in a group show/event, Its Own Nothingness, at Krowswork in Oakland. He is also will have an installation, Palimpsest, as part of LACMA’s Manly Pursuits, July 25 through October 15.
  • Through August 21: Grad Fine Art faculty member Walead Beshty organized the exhibition Picture Industry (Goodbye to All That) at Regen Projects, featuring more than 30 artists.
  • Through August 21: Alumna Emilie Halpern is in a group show, Long Long Gone, at Leo Koenig in New York. Her work can also be seen in the curated online artist resource “Culturehall” issue #46: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
  • Through September 4: Alumna Jennifer West is in a group show, Just a Matter of Time, at Iris Kadel in Karlsruhe, Germany.

What did we miss? If you know of any student, alumni or faculty shows, let us know.