Strongly conscious of the Light and Space movement that dominated the Southern California avant-garde of the 1960s, Jennifer Steinkamp builds her work around the way that light can dematerialize space, indoors and out. Her video installation Mike Kelley presents a single tree that passes through the four seasons: going from bare, to tender green and rose, to autumnal incandescence, and back to the barren boughs of winter. At the same time, the boughs gyrate in a sinuous dance, implying the larger earth cycles of wind, storm, and change.
Mike Kelley was first exhibited at the Hammer Museum at UCLA in 2007. The installation continued to develop over the following year, and it was shown again at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The title is a tribute to Mike Kelley, among Steinkamp’s foremost mentors during her studies at the Art Center College of Design in California—although Kelley’s consciously critical art practice bears little similarity to Steinkamp’s inclination for beauty.
Steinkamp (born 1958) builds her work around the way that light can dematerialize space, indoors and out. She uses 3-D digital animation software to create video projections that are at once vividly theatrical and seductively illusionistic. Steinkamp fabricates fantastically beautiful animations that could not exist in the real world, charting the cycles of the seasons and the passage of time.