Arts + Literature Laboratory presents Between, an exhibition by Madison artist Jennifer Bastian, who was selected to participate in the inaugural year of the Dane County Emerging Artists Program. The exhibition opens Saturday, June 3, 2017 with a reception from 7 to 9pm, and will be on view through June 30, 2017. For this exhibition, Bastian will transform the gallery into a makeshift domestic space that wraps the viewer in comfort and encourages reflection.
I am a photographer. I carry a 35mm film camera around and record imagery that expresses the feelings I have about my life. The photographs are an attempt to bridge the gap between your life and mine. I see things that you might also see, I feel things that you might also feel.
I am often seeking comfort. If it is not present, I want to facilitate its creation. I try to surround myself with softness, nostalgia and calming shifts in color and pattern.
To accomplish this, I reach back to a point around the time I was born in every thrift store I can dig my way through. I look for objects and fabrics that will convey a sense of my strongest memories. In exhibitions, these items inhabit the same space as my photographs. They emulate the experience of home, complementing the images as your parents’ shag carpet complemented your great-grandfather’s portrait.
I am aware that the traditional domestic space has historically been a gendered one, maintained by women. As a woman struggling with the expectations of gender performance and age related “female” achievements, it is clear to me that my desire to create a space of comfort for my viewer is informed by my struggle with achieving societal norms for my age and gender. There is a tension for me in that desire – to both push toward and pull away from the expectations of others. I want to explore that space.
Slightly separated from the domestic space are a series of my photographs. They observe the vulnerability of animals, children, and the lives of small things. We are all vulnerable, some more than others at certain points, but we can connect in that knowledge. We have all been children, we have all struggled with identity, we have all watched ourselves and our families age.
I want to hold the hand of my viewer in this space, give them comfort, and listen to our shared narratives.
The Dane County Emerging Artists project is supported in part by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.