Jen Stark’s concentric drips and intricate paper sculptures have a mystifying simplicity that subtly alters perception and unearths the complex systems of nature.
Stark’s multi-coloured repeating patterns are meditative and optically deceiving. At Art Basel 2015, she made her first mark on the art world with her work How to Become a Millionaire in 100 Days, made up of one-million tiny pieces of hand-cut paper. Since, she has become an international name with commissions and collaborations for global brands like Vans and Facebook, as well as masterminding Miley Cyrus’s psychedelic backdrop for the MTV VMA Awards.
- Work in collection inc. the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the West Collection, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and MOCA Miami
- Solo show, Multiplicity, at Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, 2018
- Collaboration with Vans, Custom made by Jen Stark, 2018
- Artwork for MTV VMA Awards hosted by Miley Cyrus, 2015
- Solo show, To The Power Of, at the Martha Otero Gallery, Los Angeles, 2012
Her technicolored pattern-making spans multiple mediums including drawing, sculpture and animation, and always relies on the same scrupulous artistic hand. Whether a large public mural, intimate felt-tip drawing, or a meticulously crafted stack of paper, Stark harnesses the timeless power of line, colour and repetition to make works that warp, bulge and vibrate as though they possess a kinetic energy of their own.
Stark’s practice grapples with notions of consciousness and spirituality. Mono Chrome (2017) is a large wooden relief made of swirling, wobbling rings of white, grey and black that swell from one central core. While each individual tone is flat, together they shift and flow in and out of each other, reminiscent of a Bridget Riley painting or Tony Conrad’s experimental film, Flicker (1966). The restless concentric rings in Mono Chrome encourage agitation and relaxation simultaneously. The composition enables the viewer to ‘lose oneself’ in the fuzzy monochrome motion, a similarly altered state to a psychedelic trip that disrupts rational consciousness. Thus, the work blurs both our senses and our imagination, questioning the limits of our own realities.
Stark’s works recall the organic formations and mathematical precision of nature. The Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence are recurrent in her work, shown by the spiralling form of a shell in paper sculptures such as Centrifugal (2010) and Cosmographic (2014); the sprawling branches of a tree in her reflective metal reliefs; or through the head of a flower in her sinking wormholes and infinite multi-coloured vortexes. With their rippling forms and strategically designed layers evoking the trippy symmetry of fractal geometry, her works elucidate how the infinitely vast and infinitely small mirror each other in nature. Through her study of these methodical systems of natural beauty, a particular freedom arises in Stark’s work—a reverberating psychedelic brilliance that has the power to stretch our senses and bend our notions of reality.
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