Jenifer Kent : Marking Time
Jul 7 — Aug 27, 2022
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Dolby Chadwick Gallery is open by appointment only. Please schedule an appointment for a private viewing or request a virtual tour of the exhibition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to announce Marking Time, an exhibition of new work by Jenifer Kent, on view this July and August.
Working with black ink on white clay-coated panels, Kent builds up innumerable dots, lines, circles, and ovals that coalesce into intricate, dynamic compositions. No two marks are identical as each is created by hand, without the aid of a ruler, thus encoding the fluctuations and idiosyncrasies of the artist’s unique gesture. This exuberant diversity of form at the micro level is counterpoised by the overall precision of the final aggregated forms.
Time and an engagement with process have played a defining role in Kent’s art throughout much of her career. This emphasis has only grown more pronounced over the past two years, a brief period that has seen time utterly upended by pandemic lockdowns as well as the artist’s own life transitions. Kent observes how struck she has been “by the zooming in of time, down to the minutiae of every moment, and also by the large swaths of time that roll by without anything seeming to mark it.” Her art brings this tension of time as both a concrete and elusive phenomenon to the fore, with each mark ticking off a single second and each finished piece representing hours of her life and labor; and yet, what those hours signify remains just beyond reach.
Tracing outward trajectories from a single origin point, the larger forms within her compositions evoke wonders of the natural world, from star systems to fleecy white dandelions. Such associations are felicitous given how time and nature are inextricably enmeshed, even coterminous, with both announcing, demarcating, and shaping the other through their respective cyclical patterns and forward momentum.
But ruptures in the natural order of things can and do still occur, as demonstrated by the tumult of our current environmental and socio-political zeitgeist. In many of Kent’s works, the marks cumulatively reflect “a state of entropy or explosion, a breaking apart from their form to reach within and beyond . . . a breaking down or breaking out of organized time.” Patterns of organization have become disrupted, with the previous order of the circle, for example, fractured into crystalline structures or interceded by layers or breaks, perhaps signifying the breaks we are experiencing worldwide.
In Moment (2021), for instance, the marks that detonate out transform at various intervals, growing denser, then looser, creating distinct bands that reflect the unpredictable energy of an intense shockwave. This and other pieces from Kent’s newest body of work interrogate not only the paradox of time as a vast expanse and a blink of the eye, and the seemingly impossible coexistence of imperfection and precision, but also the stunning harmonies that can emerge when chaos and order are paired. Kent introduces rupture, but not without introducing repair. In so doing, she presents a new journey—toward being and existence but also toward understanding and re-creation—for us to consider.
Born in 1971, Jenifer Kent earned a BFA in 1994 from Rutgers University followed by an MFA in 1999 from Mills College, Oakland. Based in Northern California, she has exhibited extensively across the United States—including at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art—and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies. This will be her second solo exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.