Getting Random Selected Works by Jennifer West.
On view in Gallery Photoland located on the first floor of Evans Hall from September 25th – December 15th. Disclaimer: this show contains videos with flashing lights. Please use discretion in viewing these works.
About the show:
Showing at Gallery Photoland at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA – “Getting Random – Selected Works by Jennifer West.” Exhibition on display September 25 through December 15, 2023. Gallery is located on the first floor of Evans Hall just outside Photoland, and is open during normal Photoland hours.
This solo exhibition by Californian artist Jennifer West, (alumni of The Evergreen State College, 1990) is comprised of a group of works, ranging from 2005 to 2023. The works consist of eleven digitized films, documentation of live performance work, film frame enlargements, plus a selection of zines. Exhibit organized by Photoland, curated by Devon Damonte, adjunct faculty experimental animation, and Photoland staff.
Jennifer West works at the intersection between two technological paradigms, in a space she calls “analogital” (a contraction of “analogue” and “digital”). In 2016, she completed a monumental film entirely dedicated to movie title cards called Film Title Poem, made on 35mm film, hand etched and painted and transferred to a digital format, which is composed of images of patterns and glitches from over 500 film credits sorted alphabetically. Inspired by Victor Burgin’s essay The Remembered Film (2004), Jennifer West’s feature film investigates the way in which fiction works its way into our memories, but also demonstrates how our viewing experience has changed with digital technology.
Jennifer West began her systematic research into the possibility of shooting films without using a camera as far back as 2004. The artist removes the film from its conventional context by applying different processes that range from traditional artistic techniques (painting, drawing, collage, graffiti, etching) to alternative actions such as emulsion, chemical manipulation and direct exposure of the photosensitive material to light. The result is a “filmic space”, immersive and psychedelic, a material animation of signs and images characterized by acid tones and nervous rhythms.
In some instances conceived as authentic performances, Jennifer West’s work on the film often calls for the inclusion of other persons, as well as daily use materials (food, lipstick, motorcycle tires…), or exposure to natural elements in places of special impact.
This is the case of Salt Crystal Spiral Jetty Dead Sea Five Years Film (2013), one of the films on exhibition: it was created by immersing 70mm film in the clay and salt of the Dead Sea, at high temperatures in 2008 and then placing it in a suitcase. The film sat in buckets in the artist’s studio, covered it with clay for five years and finally pulling it over the rocks encrusted with salt crystals of Robert Smithson’s renowned Spiral Jetty, before being thrown into the icy waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
Jennifer West embodies Evergreen’s interdisciplinary ethic in her omnivorous multimedia engagement with projects. It is fitting for this exhibit marking West’s alma mater return to be at Gallery Photoland, sited in the nexus of TESC’s ‘analogital’ studies and production labs embracing all approaches from chemical darkrooms to digital imaging studio, down the hall from electronic media headquarters, nearby library, archives, media loan, and art collection storage. For further study, Jennifer has also recently generously donated a selection of her zines to the newly renovated Rare Books Room at Evergreen Library. Jennifer will also be participating in the Artist Lecture series with an interactive session on November 1, 2023 at noon.
About the artist:
Jennifer West (b.1966, Topanga, CA) is a Los Angeles-based artist who has explored materialism in film for over fifteen years. Significant commissions include works for LIAF Biennial (2022); Seattle Art Museum (2016-2017); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2016); The High Line, New York, NY (2012); MIT List Visual Arts Center (2011); Aspen Art Museum (2010); and Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London (2009). West has had solo exhibitions and presentations at the Pompidou Center, Paris (2022); Times Square Arts, New York (2021); JOAN Los Angeles (2020); Contemporary Art Museum St Louis (2018); Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2017); Seattle Art Museum (2016-2017); Museo d’Arte Nuoro, Sardinia (2017); Tramway, Glasgow (2016); S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK (2012); Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany (2010); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, (2010); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2008); White Columns, New York, NY (2007). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at The Whitney Museum, New York, NY; Drawing Center, New York, NY; Barbican, London; Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt; Centre for Contemporary Visual Arts, Bordeaux; and ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, among others.
She has been an artist in residence at the SOMA, CDMX (2019); Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York (2014-15) and the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, MA (2011-12). She has curated exhibitions and programs from the collections of the Thoma Foundation (2023); LACMA (2017) and the Carnegie Museum of Art (2015) and curated moving image programs for Times Square Arts (2021) and MOCA Los Angeles (2019).
West received an MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a BA from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her writing has appeared in publications including Artforum, Frieze, Mousse Magazine, and Mubi Notebook. West has produced nineteen zine artist books, eleven of which are in the Getty Museum collection. She has lectured widely on her ideas of the “Analogital” and is an Professor of the Practice of Fine Arts at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design in California. In 2022, a monograph on her work, Media Archaeology was published by Radius Books, funded by a grant from the Thoma Foundation.