Jennifer Steinkamp creates highly detailed, digital animations of motifs from nature. Projected at a large scale, they respond to the architectural spaces in which they are shown and play with the limits of perception by opening up an almost otherworldly sense of space. Both ephemeral and immersive, Steinkamp’s animations feature branches, flowers, vines, and trees that shift and sway as if propelled by a swirling breeze.
In 2012, Steinkamp began a series of works honoring teachers with tree dedications inspired by her first-grade teacher, who singled her sponge trees out as the best in the class. The series is named after Judy Crook, who taught color theory at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, where Steinkamp began her studies in the late 1970s. In these works, hyper-real trees are rendered life size; branches trail and leaves fall as the seasons endlessly repeat, foregrounding both the ethereality and dynamism of life.
Judy Crook, 4 (2014) will be installed in MOCA Cleveland’s Gund Commons, an open-access space for the public. The limbs of the tree are laden with colorful, shimmering blossoms which repeatedly flower and mature; then fall as the leaves grow lush and green, and the cycle continues. An illusion of depth is created as the branches seem to stretch into the museum; transporting the viewer and creating a meditative experience.