Psychedelic Paper Art or High-Level Math?
Jen Stark's lush paper landscapes seem both psychedelic and scientific. Using trippy shapes and colors, she draws you into a place of quiet mystery. It's the kind of work that's equally at home on the covers of science magazines and billboards.
Mathematicians, in particular, get rather touchy feely about Stark's work — they send her notes comparing her sculptures to complex equations and theories of infinity. One e-mailed her a paper by Cornell University mathematician Karen Vogtmann, pointing out the similarities between Stark's Burst and Vogtmann's concept of Outer Space. That's not the space we know with the sun and the stars but rather a mathematical idea. An Outer Automorphism is a collection of groups, each filled with ways to map points of an object to itself, while maintaining the object’s deeper structure. It can get your brain all twisted up just thinking about it and so can Stark’s art objects.Stark is not a mathematician or scientist. She studied art in Maryland and in 2004, spent a summer in Aix-en-Provence. She found she couldn’t afford French pastels or oil paints, so she bought blocks of kiddy construction paper and began cutting. The meticulous, sequential work felt meditative, Stark says. A single sculpture can take months to finish, built layer by wafer-thin layer. Stark makes everything by hand and has to pace herself so she doesn’t wreck her fingers. She's come up with a few cheats: she wears mittens and pads her X-Acto knife with cotton balls. Having a sense of humor helps too. For one sculpture, Stark cut 10,000 shapes of paper every day for 100 days. The title of the piece: How to Become a Millionaire in 100 Days.
July 7th - August 17th, 2014 Join us for the Way Out West launch event on July 17th! The Art City Project proudly presents Way Out West, a celebration of the idea of California and its history as fertile ground for dreamers, pioneers, and counterculture. The exhibition reflects on the changing social landscape of the West Coast and explores the role of contemporary art in public spaces. Way Out West revisits the California experience by transforming outdoor advertising into new space for art to live and breathe. The month-long installation — which spans billboards, transit shelters, bus takeovers, and other alternative space throughout San Francisco’s transitional inner Mission neighborhood — will feature art from contemporary artists with roots in California. Brett Amory / Apex / Pakayla Rae Biehn / Anthony Discenza Double Zero (Annie Vought and Hannah Ireland) / Jeremy Fish Casey Gray / Desirée Holman / Chris Johanson / Jet Martinez Alicia McCarthy /Alia Penner / Andrew Schoultz Dave Schubert / Jen Stark / Zio Ziegler and featuring artwork by Creativity Explored artists Andrew Li, John Patrick McKenzie, and Kate Thompson Curated by Tova Lobatz and Jenny Sharaf
In San Francisco, where tensions between established artist communities and Silicon Valley continue to rise, Luke Groesbeck, a former tech worker and the founder of the fledgling public art organization Art City, wants to help his hometown reinvest in the former. “This is a city with a major arts and cultural legacy,” he says. “How do we honor that? Then an idea came up and I got fixated on it: What happens when you turn an entire city into a gallery? Is it possible?”
From now until Aug. 17, San Franciscans will get to find out. As part of Art City’s Way Out West project, Groesbeck, along with his crew of curators and organizers, worked with advertising companies and the local creative community to coordinate his organization’s pilot urban art takeover. Eleven billboards, four buses and three transit shelters in the Mission District are being resurfaced with works from 20 artists, many of whom have long-running involvements in San Francisco’s street art scene. These include the graffiti artist Apex, whose works live on building walls near major streets like Valencia, and members of the Mission School movement like Chris Johanson and Alicia McCarthy, who began collecting praise in the ’90s for their Sol LeWitt-like installations of busy, ribboned color.
The project isn’t just about the pieces themselves. It’s also about what they’ll replace: advertising. “Today, San Francisco has about 7,500 ad spaces, which reach tens of millions of people in a given month,” Groesbeck explains. “We’re doing this to illustrate a different possible future, where in each neighborhood we’re instead surrounded by art and contemporary art plays a major role in our lives.”
The subject of art versus commerce is a timely one in the Bay Area, especially in the once-gritty, rapidly gentrifying Mission. “Artists, musicians and other creatives that make San Francisco what it is are being pushed out,” says Brett Amory, an internationally exhibited artist and local resident who is also participating in the project. “The Mission District is one of the areas getting hit hardest by this change. It’s a very appropriate place to have art by local artists displayed, as a reminder of what the city is really made of.”
Groesbeck, for his part, thinks the project will help San Francisco remember its roots. “I think this is a way to do something positive,” he says, “and hopefully, give back to the city.”
Cosmographic / 34" x 37" x 4" / acid-free paper, holographic paper, glue, wood / 2014
Splatter / 60" x 48" x 1" / acrylic paint on MDF / 2014
Splatter (detail) / 60" x 48" x 1" / acrylic paint on MDF / 2014
Dazed & Confused, Group Exhibition
May 24th-June 15th, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 24th, 2014 | 6-9 PM
Full Circle / 36" x 36" x 76" / Latex spray paint on PVC, monofilament / 2014Full Circle / 36" x 36" x 76" / Latex spray paint on PVC, monofilament / 2014
Glow / 63" x 40" x 4" / acid-free paper, holographic paper, glue, wood, acrylic paint / 2014
On Saturday March 29th, my animation "Believer" will be featured in a film screening in Los Angeles called Ghosting.tv. Feel free to come out and see some amazing short films and animations!
Ghosting Volume #8 1205 N Main St Los Angeles CA
March 29th 8pm
Allow us to blind you with psychedelic science!