WILTON PATCH . Ridgefield, CT
by Audra Carbone June 2, 2010
Jen Pepper's mother was a weaver and her father was a sports writer. Somehow, that has translated into her role as Weir Farm's Artist in Residence.
"The word that comes to mind is translation," said Pepper. While she was referring to her current exhibition at the Wilton Library, she might as well have been referencing her past.
Pepper discussed her artistic career during her exhibition/reception titled Translations at the Wilton Library last Thursday. A small, intimate group gathered to view slides of her work and listen to her tales of her fascinating life as an artist, especially how she spent her time creating in the studio at Weir Farm. Pepper spent two weeks at Weir Farm and the reception was the debut of her work there.
The Wilton Library works in conjunction with Weir Farm, hosting each Artist in Residence's exhibition. There are 12 artists picked each year to live and create in the studio at the farm.
"The studio is their private domain, which is our pledge to them," explained Weir Farm's Interim Executive Director Janice Hess. "And the reception is when they put their art on display."
Pepper's slide show, which incorporated poignant quotes and photographs of her art, was titled Translations because her work is based on how she responds to changes in the earth. She is also very connected to her parents, both of whom have passed, yet she keeps them alive by weaving them into her art.
"My mother was an amazing stitcher," Pepper explained.
Mother and daughter once collectively created an artistic piece together while her father worked as a sports writer.
"What I am excited about is blending language and knitting, riddles and conundrum," she said of her artistic muses. "When I see crochet lines, I think of it as writing sentences."
As a child she received a loom from her parents and although she has been a painter and sculpter throughout her career, weaving has consistently showed up in her work in one way or another. Creating woven pieces often made her feel as though she was looming pages of a book.
In conjunction with weaving, which Pepper does with the tip of a paintbrush or a crochet hook, cowhide, steel and watercolor also play an important role in her art.
"I use materials that I feel are necessary for the work," she explained.
At Weir Farm, Pepper tooled pieces of cowhide and paintings, but first she utilized the serenity of the space and spent time contemplating life.
"For the first couple days I just thought," she explained.
When she began to hear the tree-frogs, or peepers as some Wiltonians know them, it inspired the artist to create a painting of what they sound like. The painting was debuted at the exhibition.
Pepper left Weir Farm for other artistic adventures on May 31 and felt her time spent at the historic farm was a wonderful gift.
"It has been a tremendous experience," Pepper stated.
Jen Pepper's artwork and schedule can be viewed at www.jenpepper.com.
The Daily Norwalk . WILTON & NORWALK . CT
by Alissa Letkowski MAY 24 . 2010
The Weir Farm Art Center has been running the "Artist in Residence" program since 1998, but is currently hosting its first artist since renovations to the new art studio were completed, according to Superintendent Linda Cook.
The newest artist is Jen Pepper, who describes her work as conceptual, fabulous and for sale. She works with a variety of mediums, including leather and carvings. Her newest artistic goal is "trying to capture things you cannot hold, like fleeting time, fleeting memories and clouds," said Pepper, whose favorite thing about Weir Farm is the peace and quiet. She works without radio or wireless internet to keep out the distractions.
Pepper, a Toronto-born associate professor of art and design at Cazenovia College, arrived Sunday at the farm. While most artists in residence stay for a month, Pepper will only be there for two weeks due to previous commitments.
Artists may apply to work and live on the farm for a period of one month free of charge, according to Cook. The farm typically hosts 12 artists each year, but did not hold the program for about five months while they added onto the existing barn with attached garage.
"The new studio will enable the program to evolve and will position the center to more fully participate in regional and national art arenas and to offer more art programs to the community," according to the art center website.
Cook believes having an artist living and painting on the site immensely benefits the historic site. "Having an artist in residence keeps the tradition of using this site to inspire art," she said. "It's like, I want to come and paint where Weir painted."
"I love to go to places that have history to them. There's like a spirit in the land," said Pepper. "This was a property that was not only owned and prized by artists, but art was a big part of the landscape."
Since the program's birth, 115 visual artists have taken advantage of the opportunity from all over the United States, Tunisia, Germany, Australia, India and the Netherlands, according to the website. Although only 12 artists are selected, Cook estimates that between 600 and 800 artists visit the grounds to capture the rolling fields and historic stone walls every year.
The art center reports that of the almost 391 National Park Service sites, Weir Farm is one of the two parks dedicated to art.
image: “Bird in Arras VII” byTIM SCOTT is part of the new exhibit at the Everson Museum of Art called “The Sixties: When Colour was Sculpture" in Robineau Gallery: JEN PEPPER: that which cannot be held
“New Everson exhibits grows out of Impressionists,” published in The Post-Standard newspaper, Sunday, February 07, 2010 Syracuse, NY by contributing columnist Steven Kern, Director, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Impressionism, a subject that dominated this column from September through December last year, offers the perfect transition into two exhibitions that have just opened at the Everson Museum of Art.
“The Sixties: When Colour was Sculpture” features six monumental acrylic and steel sculptures by British artist Tim Scott.
Cazenovia artist Jen Pepper has mounted a site-specific installation called “that which cannot be held,” the first exhibition of “The Edge of Art: New York State Artists Series.” Like the Impressionists, who sought to expand the definition of painting in the 1870s, Scott and Pepper boldly redefine painting and drawing respectively with their work.
The effects of light and shadow, line and color were a preoccupation with artists like Monet and Cezanne. In the generations that followed the two French masters, artists made full use of the aesthetic and intellectual advances made by the Impressionists as they continued to test the boundaries of materials, technique and inspiration. In the 1960s, for the Color Field painters in the Everson collection such as Helen Frankenthaler and Jules Olitski, color itself became a subject.
Olitski, for example, wanted his paintings to make the viewer feel that he or she was walking into color. Carefully balanced masses and tonalities are expressed in three dimensions in Scott’s work, with color extending, quite literally, into space. A walk around the monumental sculptures reveals subtleties and surprises, as color and space lock together only to break apart, as movement is caught in suspended animation, and as steel and acrylic seem to defy gravity.
If Tim Scott’s sculpture from late 1960s can be interpreted as painting in three dimensions, so can Jen Pepper’s installation be viewed as a drawing in space. Inspired by the landscape, Pepper’s installation sets out to celebrate constant transformation and, like Monet’s landscapes, to capture the fleeting moment.
With a video backdrop of a thaw at Chittenango Falls, elaborate mesh sculpture, itself a dazzling work of almost two miles of finger-crocheted galvanized cable, projects a shadow drawing of no lesser significance. Just as Tim Scott’s color palette is exhilarating, Jen Pepper’s monochromatic image is sensational.
“Tim Scott — The Sixties: When Color was Sculpture,” organized by David Mirvish, Toronto, will remain on view through April 11. Jen Pepper’s “that which cannot be held” remains on view through April 4.
Steven Kern is director of the Everson Museum of Art.