Artist Jen Stark Uses Paper to Replicate Infinity

Categories: Art
jen stark.jpg
This is the second in a series of articles profiling the seven finalists for the New Times MasterMind Awards, which will be presented to four local artists during Artopia at the Freedom Tower February 11.

A great Cuban percussionist was once asked why he shook a maraca over and over again for a recording when he could simply do it once and loop the sound. Because, he answered, it sounds different every time.

That reminds us of the obsessive, time-consuming process that artist Jen Stark uses to create the seemingly infinite patterns on paper that have drawn the attention of the local art world.

Instead of plotting the works on a computer, the native Miamian takes colorful paper, cuts it, and glues the pieces together. The result are multicolored works that replicate infinity and echo the patterns found in nature. 

Why paper? "The fact that it's so common and universal," Stark says. "People see it on a daily basis."

And why the obsessive patterns? According to Stark, they were inspired by the anatomical cross sections pictured in the medical textbooks her sister, a doctor, brought home.

It takes Stark a couple of weeks to create one small work: "It's pretty crazy," she says. "It's meditative."

Stark, who also makes animated films using paper she moves just a hair before clicking each frame, discovered the promise of paper while studying abroad in France. After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2006, she decided to return home, where she was an alum of New World.

"I like what was happening to the Miami art scene," she says. "I decided to come back. I felt I always had art contacts in Maimi. I felt Miami was more promising."

To makes ends meet, Stark worked for Anthropologie, a hip, high-end clothing chain, where she created "art walls" based on patterns. She also cleaned artwork for a luxury hotel before going out on her own. "I wanted to do my own thing," she says.

She been selling her works to local collectors, and many of her pieces are part of the West Collection in Pennsylvania.

To view Stark's work, visit jenstark.com

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