The Portland Art Museum is pleased to present an exhibition featuring the internationally renowned media artist Jennifer Steinkamp (American, born 1958). Steinkamp creates highly detailed, digital animations of motifs from the natural world. Projected at very large scale, her works activate the architectural spaces in which they are shown and play with the limits of perception by opening up an almost otherworldly sense of space.
This summer the Portland Art Museum brings together four remarkable projections in a lively presentation on the passing of time as revealed by our natural environment. The dramatic centerpiece Orbit fills one wall of the Stott gallery from corner to corner, depicting the celestial mechanics of a planet spinning through its year. Turbulent winds blow branches, leaves and flowers of a tree through the seasons, immersing the viewer in swirling motion. Two works from the Judy Crook series occupy the walls perpendicular to Orbit. These animations represent individual trees standing firm as their branches sway, bloom, and drop their leaves in another depiction of nature tracking time. Kamp Tree is a fourth work installed in the Inskeep gallery. It is a smaller scale work created in collaboration with children participating in a summer art camp at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and will be a lighthearted introduction to the visually intense works in the Stott gallery. Steinkamp will expand Kamp Tree using additional leaves created by children in the Native Montessori Program of Portland Public Schools.
The exhibition provides a dynamic counterpoint to Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon (on view at the Museum through September 3). Yeon was a true Northwest original, deeply captivated and influenced by the beauty of the region. Steinkamp’s sensitivity to nature and time echoes his concerns, while she employs thoroughly contemporary tools for her expressions.
This exhibition of Steinkamp’s work is also the Museum’s primary contribution as a partner institution of Converge 45, a citywide contemporary art program that encourages collaboration across venues under the theme of “You in Mind” established by guest artistic director Kristy Edmunds. In 2017 Converge 45 exhibitions will be on view July through September, with the main period of activity occurring in August. Converge 45 will offer a curated immersive program of exhibitions, panels and special events August 9–12, 2017. Learn more at converge45.org.
Jennifer Steinkamp’s work has been featured in exhibitions across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and is in numerous public and private collections. A professor in the department of Design Media Arts at UCLA, Steinkamp visited Portland in May 2014 for a discussion of her work in the Museum’s Critical Conversations series.