Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West makes 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm films by manipulating the film celluloid to a level of performance. The film emulsion might be doused with perfume, alcohol, mascara, or pepper spray, skateboarded on, kissed, or dragged through tar pits. The concept-specific materials she employs for each film enhance and reinforce the experiential and performative nature of each work. She often makes her work with social groupings such as friends, students, artists, writers, even the babysitter. West’s practice is characteristically influenced by urban mythology, folklore, and popular culture, and often addresses issues of the body, of gender, and of self-presentation. Her silent films have a strong synesthetic effect, in that she causes the viewers to taste or smell the “ingredients” that led to her particular visual expression. She is also known for her “Zines” – DIY photo booklets of production stills of the making of the films- that she gives away at her exhibitions.
In 2011 Jennifer West had a solo exhibition at Vilma Gold, London; Franklin Arts Works, Minneapolis and in 2010 solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Western Bridge, Seattle and Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany. West has exhibited widely in museums in the past, including at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, and Seattle Art Museum (2010), Tate Modern and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philidelphia (2009), Drawing Center, New York, Aspen Art Museum and Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2008),CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France, Contemporary Art Museum, Detroit, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, ZKM Museum for New Media, Karlsruhe and Tate St. Ives (2007). In 2011 she was included in exhibitions at: White Flag Projects, St. Louis; Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara; White Columns, New York; and the Rubbell Family Collection, Miami. West has been commissioned to produce special projects at The Aspen Art Museum (2010) and for the turbine hall at TATE Modern (2009) and she was Artist in Residence at the MIT List Visual Arts Center this year. Upcoming projects include a performance based work and exhibition at Highline Art, New York, curated by Cecelia Alemani, “Out of Focus Photography” at the Saatchi Gallery, London and “Painter’s Panting” at the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.
Jennifer West was born in Topanga, California. She received her MFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and a BA from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Currently, she is a Faculty Member at University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Art in Los Angeles, CA. She is represented by MARC FOXX in Los Angeles and Vilma Gold in London.