Jennifer Steinkamp: Mike Kelley

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    Jennifer Steinkamp, American, born 1958. Still from "Mike Kelley," 2007-2008. Computer video installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

October 20, 2011 - January 29, 2012
Spalding House

Exhibition Overview

In honor of past teachers in her life, Los Angeles artist Jennifer Steinkamp created a series of computer video projections of trees dedicated to them. This installation, created for an event at the Hammer Museum in 2007, is an homage to her teacher at Art Center College of Design, Mike Kelley, an artist who is one of the progenitors of the Los Angeles contemporary art scene. While Steinkamp’s works draw from the heritage of the 1960s southern California-based light-and-space artists, such as James Turrell and Robert Irwin, she uses advanced digital technology to achieve the effects of her wall-size projections and room installations that explore ideas about space, motion, and perception.

Mike Kelley comprises high-definition video projections of individual trees made with 3-D animation software. The branches of the trees move in a silent wind while they cycle from bare branches to budding shoots to blossoming flowers to green leaves, reflecting the passage of time and change of seasons. The work has a mesmerizing, fairy-tale-like effect. For each place the work is exhibited, Steinkamp adjusts the projections to fill the height of the gallery’s walls, the images interacting with the architecture and creating tension between the imaginary landscape and the physical space. At Spalding House, Mike Kelly establishes a dialogue between art and nature, between the exhibition and the gardens outside.

See a video of Jennifer Steinkamp talking about her installation at Spalding House.