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Jessica Stockholder in "Play"

In the studio Jessica Stockholder makes sculptures on the scale of furniture, assembling objects made of brightly colored plastic. “I love plastic. And I also just love color,” Jessica Stockholder says. “Plastic is cheap and easy to buy, and my work participates in that really quick and easy and inexpensive material that’s part of our culture.”

At the Rice Gallery in Houston where she is working on a large exuberant installation, Stockholder’s fascination with systems is evident in the way she arranges mundane objects in playful, surprising ways.

“I’m interested in how a thinking process can meander in unpredictable ways,” she says. Like child’s play, “learning that doesn’t have a predetermined end.”

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Jessica Stockholder

Jessica Stockholder is a pioneer of multimedia genre-bending installations that have become a prominent language in contemporary art. Her site-specific interventions and autonomous floor and wall pieces have been described as “paintings in space.” Stockholder’s complex installations incorporate the architecture in which they have been conceived, blanketing the floor, scaling walls and ceiling, and even spilling out of windows, through doors, and into the surrounding landscape. Her work is energetic, cacophonous, and idiosyncratic, but close observation reveals formal decisions about color and composition, and a tempering of chaos with control.

“I’m interested in how a thinking process can meander in unpredictable ways.”

Jessica Stockholder

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Jessica Stockholder discusses her work’s relation to play, fun, and Abstract Expressionism.