"My imagery has changed along with the computer’s abilities. Additionally, the technology to display video has radically changed. Every year, I have more pixels and a higher resolution, and this gives me much more detail to consider."
Jennifer Steinkamp (b. 1958, Denver, CO; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) is a pioneer in the field of 3-D animation. Working exclusively in digital media, she uses cutting-edge technology to render organic and abstract forms in motion and give deeper insight into the often unseen complexities of the natural environment. Her immersive installations are projected at a large scale in response to the architectural interiors in which they appear and alter the viewer’s typical experience of an object within a gallery, inviting a more comprehensive understanding of space and time. For each series, Steinkamp designs and digitally simulates movement of organic and abstract forms such as trees, flowers, floating fabrics, rocks, organisms, and fruit. Her work is an examination of the natural environment that engages with art historical genres such as 16th century Dutch still-life painting and scientific illustrations and nature photography.
Steinkamp’s works are displayed as site-specific projections that amplify their architectural setting by blurring the boundary between real and illusionistic space. These animated environments often have underlying personal or historical significance. For example, her animations of a single tree shown in every season, Steinkamp titles each as an homage to a former teacher, such as Judy Crook or Mike Kelley. Other series, like Still-Life, are a critical nod to the 16th century genre of Dutch and Flemish still-life painting that offered visual allegories about the fragility of life and the passage of time. Composed through the careful orientation of everyday objects such as food, flowers, dead animals, and plants, these historical works were often notable for their static quality and macabre representation of death. In Steinkamp’s reimagination of the still life, she animates this genre through the representation of (female) fruit bearing plants that move and collide in a poetic dance that celebrates life and regeneration through the natural environment.