AboutS1 Artspace is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new and recent work by Los Angeles-based artist-filmmaker, Jennifer West. This exhibition is the first UK solo show of the artist's work to be presented by a public gallery.
West approaches filmmaking like an alchemist, experimenting and transforming the surfaces of blank film stock, shot footage, found photographs or off-cuts from Hollywood blockbusters into abstract kaleidoscopes of colour, allusion and direct reference.
Working directly onto 16, 35 and 70mm film leader, West subjects the film's surface to a catalogue of materials, chemicals and substances that she describes as âmarinades'. These include anything from nail varnish, mascara, pizza and whiskey to cigarette smoke, LSD, lithium and urine. West applies and exposes these substances directly to the film allowing their natural properties to alter the celluloid in unpredictable ways. Strips of film simultaneously undergo processes of destruction such as scraping, cooking, burning, drumming, head-banging and licking; a series of performed assaults and collective gestures delivered by willing participants.
Deeply rooted within the history of experimental and more specifically, structural film, West produces camera-less films through a number of processes and actions that reference influential avant-garde artists including Tony Conrad, Carolee Schneemann, Allan Kaprow, Linda Benglis and Ed Ruscha. As a former student of Mike Kelley and Diana Thater, it was Thater who encouraged West to consider how the form or structure of any artwork can meet the subject or content as they each produce their own meaning.
Jennifer West (born Topanga, California, lives and works in LA) has exhibited widely internationally with solo exhibitions in 2011 at Vilma Gold, London, and Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis. She has also presented solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Western Bridge, Seattle and Kunstverein Nürnberg (all 2010). In the UK, West has exhibited with George Ziffo at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2008, and was featured in the 2007 exhibition, If Everybody had an Ocean, at Tate St Ives. In 2009 she was commissioned to produce special project, Skate the Sky, for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London, and in 2011 she was Artist in Residence at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge Massachusetts. Upcoming projects include an exhibition at the new Highline Channel and a performance based work for Highline Art, New York. West is represented by Vilma Gold, London and Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles.