Event Deck at L.A. Live
1005 West Chick Hearn Court
Downtown Los Angeles, California
Event Deck at L.A. Live
Here is a nice 11 page spread of my work in a contemporary art magazine called HI-FRUCTOSE (volume 20):
“The Hypothetical Universe of Jen Stark” by Jennifer Pappas
The first time I heard the term ‘paper engineer’ was in 2005, in reference to an exhibition of pop-up books at the Center for the Book in San Francisco. Infatuated with letterpress and bookbinding, I was one of the Center’s many volunteers at the time. Once a week, I sorted type, cleaned Vander Cooks and cut down paper in exchange for free studio hours. That day, I was helping set up the new exhibit, placing glass cases over hand-made books with extravagant, avant-garde pop-up methods. For some reason, the combination of ‘paper’ and ‘engineer’ really worked a number on my imagination, and I daydreamed about what I would say to such a magical person, should I ever meet one face to face.
Jen Stark is my own personal paper engineer. Though what she creates is probably better categorized as sculpture, her bright, eye-popping paper works are a feat all the same, each one built — layer by layer — completely by hand. Unlike your typical architect, however, Stark builds new models of the universe, reconstructing the elements of time, nature and the cosmos with construction paper and glue. Some works give the illusion of light speed, while others connote the bleeding or leaking of time. Each one includes the added stimuli of woozy edges, mind-bending color arrangements and other visual tomfoolery. Stark’s sculptures contain a metaphysical quality that’s not only fun to look at, but invites inquiry.
Need proof? Pedestal is a leap down the rabbit hole, while Counter Cosmo could represent the death throes of a supernova. Sunken Sediment resembles a wormhole or portal, some sort of fantastic shortcut to the future. Centrifugal is suggestive of a topographical map used to show earthquake activity or some type of intergalactic cold front. On the Inside could be a reference to tree rings. In short, Stark’s work is a kaleidoscope of layers leading into geometric-shaped utopias of the past, present, future and infinity. Pinwheels, teardrops and stars cascade, implode, drip and expand into rainbows of impossible possibilities. Sculpture after sculpture, rainbow after rainbow, the mind games continue. And Stark likes it that way. “There is so much out there that we don’t know about, and I hope to reveal some sort of magical secret of it in my artwork. I love the mystery of science and the universe. Wormholes, dark holes, infinity! What does it mean?”
Universal conundrums aside, one thing is clear: Jen Stark’s universe is definitely heating up. Features in Nylon, New American Paintings and The Miami Herald, along with several prestigious awards in recent years has solidified her as a bona fide artist on the rise. A third-generation Miami native, Stark received her BFA from Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005. She spent her junior year studying abroad in the south of France. This experience, coupled with the reality of a weak dollar led her to the materials she continues to use and tweak today. “I went over there [Aix en Provence] with a couple of suitcases of clothes, figuring I’d get art supplies when I arrived. The Euro was high and everything was expensive, so I decided to get the cheapest material I could find, but one with potential. It was a stack of construction paper. I went back to my studio to experiment and the sculptures were born.” The results are marvelous interventions of paper, color, and the space-time continuum. Following her tenure in France, Stark returned home to Miami, where she’s currently based. Not a bad place to be if you’re a young, up-and-coming contemporary artist with a distinct style.
Best known for her sculpture work, Stark’s pen and ink drawings are equally vibrant and alive. Consisting of squiggles, loops, swirls, mitochondria and triangles, the drawings are a physical and creative respite from the tedium of cutting, folding and pasting. “I tend to make sculptures more than drawings, but not by much more. I like to do them equally, and think of them as a break from the other. The drawings are more spontaneous and allow me to rest my hand a bit. The sculptures are more organized and structured, and I do the same hand movements over and over, so simultaneously being able to work on the drawings gives me freedom and change.” Whatever the reason, I’m slightly envious of the drawings; she’s the best doodler I’ve ever seen. And judging from the forms that unwind, she’s probably good at geometry too – double envy. Hypnotic, yet engaging, Stark’s drawings and sculptures appeal to the obsessive compulsive bubbling away in all of us. Much is made of the time it takes to hand-cut each layer of each sculpture, and her drawings appear equally time-consuming. Stark’s unabashed use of color appeals to the same innate cry for stimulus. “I love colors and how they interact with each other.” Stark says. “I love the effects they have when you place them side by side and they make your eyes twitch. Color is the thing that grabs your attention, and I like playing with this fact.”
Stark’s inquest of the universe works in tandem with life here on Earth. Many of her sculptures mimic the organic forms found in nature. The intricacies of a flower petal, the mathematics of a spider web, the orderliness of tree rings — each, if looking intuitively enough can be found in both her sculptures and drawings. All the more ideal then that the material she chooses to work in is not only common but natural. Everyday construction paper and the patience of a saint are her primary tools of trade. It’s the way she confounds an ordinary form, however, that makes her work so compelling. While most artists work with their hands and deal in transformation, Stark takes it to a whole new level, cutting, folding, and assembling one of the most common things we know into extraordinary, magical, scientific flights of fancy, each layer revealing just a tiny bit more of a seemingly unknowable universe. In what may be the first and only time I ask, “Do you believe in time travel?” during an interview, Stark responds thoughtfully, “I believe that light travels, and with that, images from moments in time can move through space. If you’re able to outrun it, you’re able to see the past and “time travel”. I’m fascinated by these types of unsolved questions.”
Double Rainbow Rainbow, a dual show with Maya Hayuk at the Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto opened May 12th and is Stark’s most recent show to date. “The work in the show focuses on symmetry, radiant colors, and positive energy.” Stark explains. “We each work with different mediums that evoke macro and micro science, holograms, and Rorschach tests, with hypnotic, sacred and sensual results. I did some drawings, sculptures and a new animation with music by Dan Deacon.” While the concept sounds simple enough, the show is proof that Stark is continuing to branch out, experimenting with stop-animation, wooden dowels and foam core, further complicating her geometry while forming deeper connections with the viewer. Despite its apparent limitations, construction paper continues to present a myriad of possibilities. Stark describes the evolution of her work as thus: “My work has become more intricate and I’m focusing more on the viewer interacting with the work. I want the artwork to become more of an installation, and seem to change as your view changes. I’m excited about trying to out-do the last piece I made. I want my work to keep growing and inspiring people.”
At one point during the interview, Stark surprises me by quoting Nietzsche. I think about it for days before deciding that her comment makes a lot of sense in the grand scheme of her work. “Would you categorize your work as playful?” I ask, wondering if the question is a cop-out in lieu of some deeper analysis on her use of color. “Yes, you can call my work playful.” She responds. “Here’s a really great quote by Nietzsche: ‘Maturity means to rediscover the seriousness one had as a child at play.’”
While I’d read this particular quote before, coming from Stark in this context, I reflected on its meaning in a different light. Considering the overwhelming mysteries of the cosmos, time, memory and science, aren’t we all just children at play, wondering at the staggering marvel that is everyday life? Aren’t we all trying to make sense of things in a language — visual or otherwise — that makes sense? If so, Jen Stark’s paper rainbow sculptures are just another means for understanding the great mysteries of life, one lovely scrap of paper at a time.
On Thursday May 12th, Maya Hayuk and I will be presenting our 2-person show “DOUBLE RAINBOW RAINBOW” at Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto. The show will feature all new work, and my new animation with music by Dan Deacon. Check it out!
This exhibition, aptly titled DOUBLE RAINBOW RAINBOW, focuses on symmetry, radiant colors, and positive energy. Each artist works in a variety of mediums in which they evoke macro and micro science, holograms, and rorschach tests, with hypnotic, sacred and sensual results. While both artists share a similar obsessiveness and boldness, Maya’s process appears effortless and instinctive; Jen’s is more calculated and predetermined. Together these artists will present an optical delight that will melt your face.
For more info contact:
Show & Tell Gallery
1161 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON M6J 1X3
FREEGUMS, Sam Borkson (from FWY) and I did a wild and crazy pirate booty radio show. Viral video mashups, crazy sound effects, and live callers made it an amazing 2 hour show. Here it is online for your listening pleasure. ENJOY! Press PLAY.
MIAMITIME by Giovanna Stallings-Blanche// Featuring. Jen Stark, Freegums and Friends With You by freegums
If you’re in NYC this weekend, check out a wild and crazy group show I’ll be in.
Friday February 25 from 6-8pm at CANADA GALLERY in NYC.
“Art Dizzle” / 18″ x 24″ / mixed media on archival art board / 2011 / By Sam Borkson, Jen Stark & Alvaro Ilizarbe
For this show, our collaboration “Art Dizzle” was made in the spirit of fun, friendship and creativity. The result is a collage of layering and built up craziness. There were no rules and no talking. In the work, we used some pieces of fabric and sequins from our actual costumes in the live Dadareah performance at OHWOW.
The opening night will feature a screening of Dadarhea and a special live performance by Robert Beatty of Hair Police and Three Legged Race, to accompany a video mix by Devin Flynn and Takeshi Murata. Throughout the month, Dadarheans will invite you to participate in a variety of workshops, events and musical performances. In celebration of this premiere and residency, CANADA has printed a special book complete with a DVD of the film!
Dadarheans include: Devin Flynn, Jim Drain, Francine Spiegel, Taylor McKimens, Takeshi Murata , Ara Peterson, Leif Goldberg, Jessie Gold, Bec Stupak, Neil Fazzari, Naomi Fisher, Melissa Brown, Erin Krause, Laura Grant, Brian Belott, Johnny Woods, Rich Porter, Billy Grant, Alison Kuo, Alvaro Ilizarbe, Jen Stark, Ross Goldstein, Trish Riefert, Debbie Tuch, Sam Borkson, Bert Rodriguez, Jeffery Williams, Michael Williams, Marie Lorenz, Annie Pearlman, Seth Cooper and Joe Grillo.
.CLICK HERE for the original interview by Elena Chiriboga.
1. List five things that inspire you.
-Outer space and how what we see is in the past
-The Florida Everglades
-Super friends & family
2. What was your last big project?
A huge 9 ft. x 6 ft. sculpture made out of paper that dripped down the wall at SCOPE Art Fair in Carol Jazzar’s booth.
3. What’s your next big project?
Next is a 2-person show at Show&Tell gallery (Toronto) with amazing artist Maya Hayuk. We’ll be doing collaborations as well as our own work. Also, I’m doing an animations for one of Dan Deacon’s new tracks. He is a genius musician/composer from Baltimore who has great live shows.
4. Why do you do what you do?
Why not, bro?
5. What’s something you want Miami to know about you?
I’m 3rd generation Miamian. My great-grandpa owned a dairy/cattle farm where the Miami airport is located today. On the other side, my grandparents met while working at the Miami Herald in the 1930′s. She did classified’s and he was an aviation reporter and saw Amelia Earhart off on one of her last flights.
What’s something you don’t want Miami to know about you?
I peed on the magic carpet.
“Most of us aren’t able to do too much with construction paper, but Miami artist Jen Stark pretty much creates the unbelievable. With a BFA in Fibers from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Stark is most recognized for her labor-intense paper sculptures which mirror designs found in nature. “I think geometry, nature, and mathematics have everything in common. My ideas are also based on replication and infinity as well as hypnotic, optical designs that mimic mandalas and sacred objects,” explains the artist.
Stark’s oeuvre of mind-bending work originally began with a summer abroad trip to the south of France where the artist found a friend in construction paper due to its bargain price and potential. Eventually, Stark’s stack of colorful paper transformed into three-dimensional sculptures which has now expanded to include drawings and animation.
One of her most impressive and meticulous sculptures, How to Become a Millionaire in 100 days, includes a mountain of one million pieces of confetti-style paper achieved through hand cutting 10,000 pieces a day. Stark explains the thought behind the sculpture: “For this piece I wanted to challenge the idea of being a millionaire: someone with one million dollars? Or one million objects? Having one million of something makes you a millionaire, doesn’t it?”
And while her artwork might not be worth millions, yet, Stark has garnered a fan base that includes Miami collectors and comedy sketch artist Eric from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! “Eric is awesome! I’m happy to have someone so crazy and brilliant as a fan of my work. I don’t officially collect work, but I have little drawings from artist friends,” says Stark. As an artist who has exhibited extensively, Stark continues to find inspiration in her hometown explaining, “There is so much amazing stuff going on but still a lot of room to grow, which is exciting.” by Elena Chiriboga
To read more go HERE
I’m going to have new work in a group art show at Fullerton College in Orange County, CA. Here is the info:
Group show at Fullerton College Art Gallery
Opening Thursday January 27 from 5pm – 7pm
On display Thursday, January 27 – Thursday, February 24, 2011
During this year’s Art Basel Miami I wrote a story for ARTINFO.com from a local artists point of view. It highlights my favorite artwork and moments of this year’s fair. Check out the story and slideshow HERE.
“The convention center on South Beach that houses Art Basel Miami Beach is where all this madness began in 2001. The insanity has been returning to Miami annually, with all the events and satellite fairs surrounding the main fair seeming to grow larger each year. But somehow, between leading around out-of-town friends, partying, and rubbing my swollen feet, I saw some really amazing art. After hanging my own work at SCOPE fair (with Carol Jazzar Gallery), I decided to scout out and photograph some of my favorite artworks all around Miami.
Since Art Basel is what bred all the other satellite fairs, I covered the artwork at that huge fair first. I spent two long days looking around the convention center and wasn’t even able to see everything. This fair is so huge that you need to take breaks from all the art-watching or your brain could explode. The slide show at left is a snapshot of the Basel Miami art experience through the eyes of one local Miami artist”…..read on