Arts & Humanities Campus News

Jennifer Steinkamp combines art and technology

A still from “Mike Kelley, 14,” courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London.

Artist Jennifer Steinkamp brings art into the age of technology through her use of digital animation. The exhibition “Jennifer Steinkamp: The Technologies of Nature” will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art through Aug. 21.

This exhibition features Steinkamp’s video “Mike Kelley, 14,” which represents a tree going through its seasonal phases. Played on an eight-minute loop, the video shows Steinkamp’s animation of a tree swaying in the wind as it slowly changes from vibrant green leaves and pink blossoms to bare branches.

Steinkamp made “Mike Kelley” in honor of one of her favorite teachers, who taught her in art school in California in the late 1980s. A critic, curator, teacher and multidisciplinary artist, Kelley is considered one of the most influential members of the conceptual art movement. Steinkamp’s work named for him is part of a larger set of three videos that pay tribute to teachers who influenced her. The other two videos (not on view) are titled “Miss Znerold,” for her first grade teacher, and “Judy Crook,” who taught color theory at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

“Mike Kelley” portrays the passage of time. Steinkamp explains the project as “a nice way to make an abstract portrait of somebody. … I’ve made different series of trees, and this one is kind of abstract, because I made them a little edgier like Mike is and a little more black and white like his drawings.”

Steinkamp’s animations create relationships among space, motion and perception. Her use of digital animation allows for a three-dimensional rendering of the tree, showing it from multiple angles and adding the kind of multidimensionality that sculptures often provide.

Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, the museum’s curator of American art, said, “Jennifer Steinkamp is a pioneer of digital media, and we are thrilled to be showing her work at the museum as we continue to expand our programming in video art and time-based media. It seems especially fitting to show ‘Mike Kelley,’ an animation that honors one of her early mentors during her college years, on the campus of the University of Georgia, where we can pay tribute to the formative influence that a devoted university faculty has on their students.”

The museum will host a panel discussion led by Richmond-Moll and featuring faculty from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on March 17 at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

To learn more about Steinkamp’s works, visit