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Jamie Levine

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Lives in
New York region

Works in
New York region

Schools
Montclair State University Graduate College of the Arts, 2013, MFA
Syracuse University, 1980, BFA

Tags
exhibition/performance, traditional, realism, conceptual, performance, installation, mixed-media, sculpture, figurative, abstract

artist statement

The classical Greek image of the mythological Chimera was that of a monstrous, female,

fire-breathing creature: an incongruous mixture of the head of a lion, the body of a goat,

and the tail of a dragon. Humankind has imagined and portrayed fantastical creatures

since the beginning of time. But today this ancient myth exists in biotechnologically

engineered forms. The current scientific definition of 'chimera' is any organism composed

of cells derived from at least two genetically different zygotes. Translation: featherless

chickens (bred for ease of production); mice with human brain cells; hybridized creatures

like the geep (sheep+goat), liger (lion+tiger), beefalo (buffalo+cow), and donkra (donkey

+zebra). Most recently, the world’s first primate chimeras have emerged, created from

several different species of monkey embryos. Might not human/animal chimeras be next?

My current body of work is inspired by these modern-day chimeras, however I pick up

where science leaves off, fusing the animal with the human. Details and craftsmanship

are key elements in my work, as I seek to create seamless, lifelike forms. I have cast, for

example, the bodies of a raw chicken and a human doll baby in resin, taking pains to

unify the seemingly 'separate' elements into plausible whole. Often, my creatures sport

weird, disturbing, or unexpectedly sexy body parts. I have mixed the body of a giraffe

with the cast head of a female mannequin, her face "made up" with false eyelashes and

her mouth filled with acrylic casts of my own teeth. If viewers look into the mirrored tiles

that cover the plinth on which she stands, they will see a reflection of the human vagina I

placed on her underbelly. Overall, my hybrid creatures are vulnerable, whimsical, and can

act as lighting rods for the viewer's catharsis. Although grotesque, they appear utterly

real. Questions seem to issue from their parted lips: "If I could talk, what would I say?"

"Are you, as humans, ready to listen?"

Working for so many years with hybrid forms has helped me see myself as a mixture:

mother/professional artist; instinctive animal/wise woman; healer/sufferer. I've learned a

great deal about humanity in adopting the part-beast as my own. This work has taught me

that to be fully human is a process, a verb, a goal towards which we must all aspire rather

than a static state of entitlement. Animals, driven by instinct, teach us to trust our inner

natures.

Recent Exhibits

Jamie Levine participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2013 TRANSMUTATION: The Future of Man
Soapbox Gallery
 
Jun, 2013 2013 MFA Thesis Exhibition - This Show Means Right Now
Magnan Metz Gallery
 
Mar, 2013 Rites of Spring
Morris Arts
 
Feb, 2013 Works on Paper
Cardiff School of Art & Design
 
Jan, 2013 Infallible
Index Art Center
 
Sep, 2012 Scaled to the Infinite
Index Art Center
 
Click here to see all exhibits for Jamie Levine
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