Sorry guys, this one is not Houston-based, but i'm confident that you will forgive me once you check out the awesome Jen Stark. Jen is originally from Miami, Florida, but her reach has spread far beyond her home city with major shows in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Thailand and Canada. Her work is included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the West Collection, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and MOCA Miami among others.... I could go on and on about her impressive CV, but for now I think i'll leave it there!
Stark is a contemporary multi-media artist whose primary medium is... paper! Yup, you heard me. She works with acid-free paper to create intricate and kaleidoscopic stand-alone sculptures by cutting away at (or simply layering and arranging) thousands upon thousands of layers of multi-colored paper using only an x-acto knife and foam or wood supports to achieve the end results. In a recent interview with Contemporist, Stark revealed the more complex compositions can take several weeks or even months (as well as the help of several assistants) to complete. Her 3D works are hand-cut, often large-scale, and consequently fairly tedious to create, but this is a labor of love, and it shows.
Stark's sculptures have a hypnotizing effect, with endlessly repeated geometric patterns giving the viewer the sense that the piece extends infinitely beyond the gallery's floor to a world beyond. They seem to glow from within, and one can almost believe that something magical is hidden just a few feet out of sight. Stark graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art with a minor in animation, and her talent for capturing movement is clearly evident in everything she does. Her work is intended to transform the simple into the complex, i.e. paper into a vortex of color and movement. It is, according to scribol.com, inspired by forms in nature, as well as her family background in medicinal practices such as cross-section cutting, MRI scans and X-rays.
Stark is not limited to sculpture either, in fact her work translates remarkably well to 2D. Her 3D pieces may get all the glory, but her latex or acrylic painted murals are eye-catching in their own right. The same use of color and geometric pattern that makes her sculptures seem to take on a life of their own gives any surface that Stark touches a depth and movement that belies the flat surface lurking underneath.
All in all, this girl is a breath of fresh air - truly talented, driven, and refreshingly unique.
One of Jen's large paper sculptures "Meltdown" (6ft x 8ft / 2012 / acid-free paper, glue, wood) is currently on display at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, so if you happen to be nearby, I suggest you go check this out. If not, you can follow Jen's latest news on Facebook or Instagram.
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