my make believe collection :: 2 :: jennifer starkweather

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon

hi popptalk land. how's february treating you thus far?

truth be told when i started thinking about what to put in my collection next i had a mini crisis. there's TOO MUCH art i want !! i started thinking about should i go sculpture or 2D, friend or crazy impossible dream [like my last post ]

i decided to go with a friend's work that i want and don't own but hope to someday. and after much consideration i would choose THIS drawing.

Between Del Mar and Next Door, Gouache, ink, tape, graphite, color pencil, collage on paper, 25”x25”, 2006


i first met jen when the san francisco art gallery i worked for did a studio visit. since then we've ended up in a critique group together and i've invited her to come speak to a class of mine about her work. she's a very thoughtful artist and i think she sums up her ideas nicely in her artist statement:

I am interested in using the map metaphorically to create a personal history that, although rendered from an actual physical location, takes on a shape of its own. I am interested in crossing the tenuous boundaries between what is real and what is imagined, what is felt and what is known and where the unreliability of memory encourages a range of interpretations and manipulations. I am curious how mark-making while depicting something concrete, shifts to a more intuitive realm, where I am able to act out my own diversions, dreams and memories.

Drawings become maps that tug at my memories, flashing miniature life histories before my eyes.

detail of Between Del Mar and Next Door [because you HAVE to look closely at this work]
the thing about jen's work is that to me the mark-making is painstakingly beautiful. they are so lush and rich they are so lush and rich. art NEVER translates to digital well - but this is particularly true in her case. i'm also a lover of documenting. how do we move around in the world - how can we map that out visually. i love the connection of jen's drawing to her day to day life. maybe the dots and circles pinpoint areas where she spends more time. maybe the colors signify what happens in those areas. they have the aura of being highly personal and yet they are also accessible. i can relate to the abstract shapes and forms - she chooses and places colors and patterns so nicely.

i love that her work also feels scientific - like these could be organisms that are growing and collecting. they also feel fragile - the paper is stronger than it looks, but it feels like it might evaporate in front of your eyes. and the negative space. OH the NEGATIVE SPACE. jen is a pro with negative space.... negative space is something that i don't think is talked about enough in art. it can be powerful. "empty" space forces you to look elsewhere, can alter the balance of a piece, and allow a viewer breathing room to digest content. sometimes i think the space you choose to leave blank takes more time to figure out than the space you choose to fill.....

here are some pieces of jen's that almost made the cut ::

Mole Hills - Study 3, graphite and ink on paper, 7x 9”, 2009

Spec Home 1005, 21”x25”- ink, graphite, gouache, on paper, 2008

Spec Home 1005 - DETAIL, 21”x25”- ink, graphite, gouache, on paper, 2008
but go visit Jennifer Starkweather's site and find your own favorite....

till next time... happy art collecting.... [remember you can follow along as my collection grows on pinterest ]

lisa solomon is a mixed media artist who lives in oakland, CA with her husband, young daughter, a one eyed pit bull, a french bulldog, a cross-eyed cat, a 3 legged cat, and many many spools of thread. she moonlights as a college professor, a graphic designer, and is a partner in MODify/d a crafty biz that up/cycles and re/purposes discards from the fashion industry.

Jan Halvarson


Anonymous said...

wonderful work! and I love the way to speak about it :)

kara rane said...

hi* very pretty work, the detail reminds me of a fragile batik textile.

Laura said...

So gorgeous, so delicate, so beautiful.

Unknown said...

I love the softness and subtlety of her work.

lisa solomon said...

so glad you guys like jen's work !

belinda marshall said...

such beautiful work. at first glance {in the reader with tiny images} i thought it was your work. love the colours and detail on mostly white.

lisa solomon said...

hey belinda... i'm flattered you thought it was mine.

we definitely share some aesthetic qualities :) but i there's no way i could do what jen does !