Jennifer Steinkamp has transformed the landscape of Contemporary art with her profoundly beautiful light-based installations that celebrate the ebb and flow of the natural world. Using digital animation to distill the forces of nature and the passage of time, Steinkamp further builds her work around the way that light can both define and dematerialize space.
In 2007 Steinkamp embarked on an extended series of flowering trees in tribute to artist Mike Kelley (1954–2012), who was among her chief mentors during her years at the Art Center College of Design in California. The series, titled Mike Kelley, now comprises 17 projections, each a variant on a single tree that passes through the four seasons: going from bare, to tender green, to autumnal incandescence, and back to the barren boughs of winter. At the same time, the boughs gyrate in a sinuous ballet, implying the larger earth cycles of wind, storm, and change.
Mike Kelley, 14 entered the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2011. On the occasion of the Museum’s 2014 Grand Gala Ball, which takes place October 18, Steinkamp selected five additional works from the series to fill the majestic space of Cullinan Hall. Her luminous grove dances across the surfaces of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s soaring architecture, creating an unforgettable, all-encompassing environment.