Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jennifer Caine


Jennifer Caine’s recent show at Co-Lab in Austin, TX, “Chronotope,” takes the approach of Paul Cézanne’s depiction of memory. Like Cézanne, Caine’s cut-paper installation uses impressions of abstract images to give a feeling of how the brain works in memory, spotty and incomplete. Neuroscience Jonah Lehrer claims and I agree that Cézanne would leave canvas exposed to simulate what the eye really does. Caine uses the patterns in her cut outs and your eyes try to draw a picture.

Jennifer Caine work quietly vibrates with little packages of information creating an almost complete picture, but not quite. Her lines imply the feeling of something emerging or becoming, but she stops drawing, painting, or cutting paper at the moment just before you see the image. Sometimes I think I see roots from a tree, or a wooded thicket, but I am left to wonder what these lines would become. I like this kind of tension in a work, because art like Caine’s really start to rev up your imagination. Like a “connect the dots” puzzle with not instructions or numbers to follow, you want to try to complete the image with your mind’s eye.

I would seem that Jennifer Caine might be on a mission to solve the universal laws of physics through artistic expression. After all many artist have preceded their scientific counterparts in discovering properties of the universe and the mind. Jackson Pollack predate Chaos theory and of course, Leonardo da Vinci is a classic example of an artist breaking all kinds of boundaries through his observation. Caine seeks to explore the interconnection between time and space in memory, so her investigation could help us make sense of memories in relationship to the universe. Though this work leaves you guessing, her goal to fuse past and present, space and time could help to change that way we see the world. If not, at least it was worth the effort.

You might wonder where all these high minded ideas started to jell, and I would point to the likely source of her education. Jennifer Caine received a BA in Studio Art and Mathematics at Dartmouth College and an MFA in Painting from Boston University. I think her background in mathematics has positively informed her work.

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