Jennifer Steinkamp

The Gallery of Art at Johnson County Community College will present two video installations, Jimmy Carter and Glimpse, by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. Steinkamp’s Glimpse is a projection piece of brightly colored concentric ovals that pulsate outward from the center, a hypnotic composition. Her Jimmy Carter utilizes computer animation to create an immersive, interactive projection installation. Jimmy Carter consists of two walls that are covered with projected images of thousands of flowers, which Steinkamp designed on a computer. The artificial asters, chrysanthemums, lilies, orchids and tulips are placed along vertical curves that move with turbulence, creating a striped pattern. 

The stripes of flowers make nervous movements, whipping out of formation and then back into place as if subjected to a virtual wind. Steinkamp explains, “these large-scale moving images transform the architecture, while the art in turn is transformed by the architecture, thus creating the experience of a space in-between the real and imaginary. In addition, the viewer may see their shadow as they pass through the work, disrupting the illusion of the projection.”

Up close, the projected image dissipates into a grid of pixels that will scatter towards their premeditated destination. To stand back and take in the whole is to see patterns begin to take shape, only to dissolve into apparent chaos. 

According to Steinkamp, “The idea for Jimmy Carter came to me a few years ago when I noticed the light patterns from my neighbor’s car headlights through the plants in my windows hitting the walls. It was quite beautiful. I have always been intrigued with the beauty of real plants illuminated by artificial light during the evening.”

Unlike the majority of her animations, Jimmy Carter is a silent animation, originating from what she describes as “a silent sort of concept.” Steinkamp further explains, “Sometimes there is no clear explanation of why one piece needs audio while another does not.”

Regarding the title of her piece, Steinkamp states, “I named this piece ‘Jimmy Carter’ in honor of a man I respect very much. He is an incredible, selfless, and generous leader. It is unbelievable to me that our political system was able to choose this amazing person to lead our country. With everything going on in our most reactionary world, I wanted to make a small gesture towards the good and peace.”

Jennifer Steinkamp is an internationally exhibiting artist who works with new media and video in order to explore ideas about architectural space, motion, and phenomenological perception. She has work in the permanent collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Staples Center, Los Angeles; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; The Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas; The Experience Music Project, Seattle, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and The W5 Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This year, she will have an installation in the Media City Biennial in Seoul, Korea, as well as the Istanbul Biennial.