Let's Talk About Art: Jennie Thwing

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

Sometimes art explores its own making.

“My Black Hole” is an animated video installation that captures the artistic process: both the joy and the dread of completing a work.

The artist is Jennie Thwing, a New York-based artist and filmmaker – originally from Johnstown, Cambria County – who explains that the video is “an animated portrait of the evolution of my studio practice.”

It is a playful interpretation of the life of an artist. Think “Pee-wee's Playhouse,” where the objects in the creative space overtake the human world.

On view at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside through July 20, the narrative takes place inside a constructed room over a four-week time period, she says. It was created as a model for an upcoming film series she's working on titled “The Living Room.”

Her art often employs anthropomorphism – giving human qualities to inanimate objects – and this piece is no exception.

This is especially evident in a particular portion of the video, where a living room scene comes to life through the use of stop-motion animation. Rain boots walk on their own, books shudder off their shelves, and couch pillows take shallow breaths.

In addition to stop-motion, music and Ms. Thwing‘‍s on-screen personal bring her exhibit to life. She, like the room around her, is a part of the art – a canvas that is constantly changing.

When she is not drowning in a sparkling cloth ocean, she is begging the golden-lit ceiling for artistic inspiration or lying in a pile of leaves, watching the two-dimensional moon rise.

“My Black Hole” is part of an ongoing collaboration between PCA and Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA.org) in Philadelphia. An exchange of exhibits between the two arts organizations provides context and more exposure for regional artists. Ms. Thwing was recently chosen for a fellowship at CFEVA. She also teaches visual communications at Farmingdale State College in East Farmingdale, N.Y.

For more information about the artist: jenniethwing.com; for more about PCA and current exhibitions: pca.pittsburgharts.org.


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