Observer Effect

Curated by Carrie Gundersdorf and Lorelei Stewart

Exhibition Checklist (expanded)

Jessica Hyatt
Allow Me to Introduce Myself, My Name Is Conquer The Magic, 2008
Oil on canvas and engraved metal, 40 x 30 in.
Courtesy the artist

Jessica Hyatt’s Signature Dessert, 2013
Bread pudding, cream custard, raspberry jam, and raspberries
Courtesy the artist

Jessica Hyatt’s Signature Ramekins, 2009
Ceramic ramekins, dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist

Zeno's Paradox; Thank God for Infinity, 2010
Cibachrome print mounted on inkjet print mounted on inkjet print, and scan of Cibachrome print mounted on inkjet print mounted on inkjet print; eight works, each 16 x 16 in.
Courtesy the artist

Jessica Hyatt’s (Chicago, b. 1977) work goes beyond identity—she is concerned with the conceptual space that exists between the singular and the individual. The singular encompasses a particular object, entity, or idea. The individual suggests each iteration of the singular. For example, a score of music is a singular object—it will always be the same. But every time that score is performed, it will result in an individual performance. For Hyatt, the ways in which these concepts blur and bleed create opportunities to consider identity, individuality, difference, and sameness. She explores this space by investigating people that share her name, repeating forms and ideas that are traceable to other Jessica Hyatts and their lives.
Jessica Hyatt’s Signature Ramekins; Jessica Hyatt’s Signature
Dessert
reference a Jessica Hyatt who was a dessert chef at
the restaurant Farm 255 in Athens, Georgia. The work
materializes as hundreds of ramekins—single-serving
dessert dishes—that are marked with Jessica Hyatt’s
initials. The artist uses the ramekins to bake “Jessica Hyatt’s
Signature Dessert,” which is based on two dishes frequently
served at Farm 255. Offered to visitors for consumption, the
desserts disappear but the ramekins remain. Hyatt’s artistic
process, in which characteristics and/or information are
isolated, reproduced, and exaggerated, is similar in two other
pieces: Allow Me to Introduce Myself, My Name is Conquer
The Magic
and Zeno’s Paradox; Thank God for Infinity. In the
former, the artist painted the likeness of a horse belonging to
yet another Jessica Hyatt. In Zeno’s Paradox, she compiled
profile pictures of every Jessica Hyatt on Facebook, reducing
their images into a single color code. Through the use of
different printers, Hyatt demonstrates that, while color is
singular, each rendering of it is individual.
Considering the artist’s conception of the singular and the
individual, one could ask, who is Jessica Hyatt? She is a
dessert chef; she owns a horse named Conquer The Magic in
upstate New York; she is everyone whose picture comes up
on a Facebook search. She is everyone and she is no one.

Steffani Jemison
Untitled (Affirmations for Living), 2012
Inkjet print on acetate, tape, gesso, newspaper, and hardware; two works, each 36 x 48 in.
Courtesy the artist

Untitled (Affirmations for Living), 2012
Inkjet print on acetate, tape, gesso, newspaper, hardware, and custom painting panel; two works, each 36 x 48 in.
Courtesy the artist

Untitled (Transparency), 2011
Toner print on acetate, gesso, panel, and found paper; three works, each 18 x 24 in.
Courtesy the artist

Through the use of improvisation and repetition, Steffani
Jemison (New York, b. 1981) explores how we make sense
of our lives and histories. She is an interdisciplinary artist
whose work is concerned with the questions that arise when
conceptual practices are impacted by black history and
vernacular culture. Her process investigates text, material,
sequence, and form in a variety of ways. Most recently, this
inquiry has focused on acetate as a support for her
photographic works. Acetate, because it is transparent,
facilitates opportunities for layering throughout Jemison’s
work.
The works included in Observer Effect use the inspirational
poem “If I Could” as the starting point for a series of
interventions. The text, originally the prologue to a street
fiction novel, was found on the walls of Derrion Albert’s
computer room. Albert, a Chicago high school student, was
brutally beaten and murdered in 2009. The poem is written
entirely in the present conditional tense: “If I could, I
would . . . ” until the final line, which states: “and I can, so I
will.” Jemison reworks the poem over and over again,
investigating the text as a resonance of Albert’s life. For the
works in the Affirmations for Living series, Jemison
subjected the text to multiple reproductions, printing it on
paper, scanning the pages, and reprinting them on acetate.
Pieces of brown paper, newspaper, and advertisements are
inserted as contrivance and intervention. The Transparency
series extends the poem’s conditional phrase in three altered
versions, producing an unfixed temporality that is tethered
to one’s sense of self. Jemison’s reworking of the poem and
layering of media result in images that are—like identity—
never entirely stable.

Jochen Lampert
Fly, 2008
Four silver gelatin prints, each 9 3/8 x 7 1/8 in.
Courtesy gallery ProjecteSD, Barcelona

Libelle, 2003
Silver gelatin print, 11 5/6 x 9 3/8 in.
Courtesy gallery ProjecteSD, Barcelona

Jochen Lempert’s (Hamburg, b. 1958) photography is a
combination of art, scientific research, documentation, and
conceptualism. Having studied biology before he began
making photographs in the 1990s, Lempert continues to be
deeply influenced by his scientific background. Focusing on
animal life and natural phenomena, frequently in conjunction
with the built environment, his images are made through a
variety of both experimental and traditional processes that
mimic the innate order and randomness of the natural
world. His photographs transcend documentation by
recontextualizing the subject or event to the point of near
abstraction. Working with a 35mm camera, Lempert shoots
in black and white, developing the silver gelatin prints
himself, typically on heavy, matte-surfaced photographic
paper. This process gives them an unfinished quality—which
is accentuated by the fact that the pictures are exhibited
without frames—allowing the works to exist in a liminal
space between photography and drawing.
Fly is a series of four photographs that depict the insect
in mid-flight. The fly becomes suspended, quiet, and
unnaturally still against the out-of-focus background.
Similarly, Libelle shows a dragonfly strangely hovering in
an anonymous space. The photographs capture a fleeting
moment, which is made possible by the fast shutter speed
and telescopic use of Lempert’s camera. Lempert’s unique
process of observation provides viewers opportunities to
see the natural world anew.

John O’Connor
Highs and Lows 1, 2009
Watercolor, ink, colored pencil, and graphite on paper, 94 x 59 in.
Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery

Horror Crash, 2010
Acrylic, colored pencil, and graphite on paper, 75 1/2 x 58 in.
Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery

SUSEJ, 2011
Colored pencil on graph paper, 43 x 25 in.
Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery

John O’Connor’s (New York, b. 1972) work makes visible
that which is ordinarily invisible. Using a topic of personal
interest as the basis of his drawings, O’Connor experiments
with data collected through his own haphazard,
indiscriminate research. To compose his drawings,
O’Connor invents systems that visualize his idiosyncratic,
subjective reactions to this data. Relying heavily on chance,
his constantly evolving process becomes an integral part of
the final works.
In order to create the center square of the drawing SUSEJ
(“Jesus” spelled backwards), O’Connor devised a procedure
to translate the first words of the bible into corresponding
colors. Each colored square represents a different letter. The
shape surrounding this central square is produced using the
same color and square process but is randomly
generated, without a referent. Horror Crash takes its title
from a 2009 New York Post headline “8 Die in Horror Crash,”
which refers to a crash that occurred on a New York
highway frequently travelled by his wife and child. In this
work, O’Connor considers chaos and chance, believing it
luck (or perhaps fate) that his family was not on the road at
the time of the accident. The artist initiated the drawing with
the letters from the headline, translating each into a random
number. He further manipulated those numbers,
developing layers of numeric systems that informed the
drawing’s composition. The result is a visualization of trying
to comprehend chaos, chance, and luck. The largest
fluctuations in the history of the United States stock market
serve as the basis for the vibrantly colored shapes and
patterns in Highs and Lows 1. O’Connor translated the
stock market data into a structure comprised of statements
of great confidence and insecurity that were culled from
a book transcribing the words of people under hypnosis.
O’Connor’s work presents the information, data, and chaos
of the world re-interpreted through the patterns of form and
color.

Steve Roden
addendum 1, 2011
Twelve-page booklet
Edition of 750
Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

third stone, 2010
Oil and acrylic on linen, 26 x 22 in.
Courtesy private collection, Topanga, CA

fourth stone, 2010
Oil and acrylic on linen, 40 x 20 in.
Courtesy Blake Byrne, Los Angeles

sixth stone, 2010
Oil and acrylic on linen, 22 x 38 in.
Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

striations, 2011
16mm film transferred to video, 6:00 min.
Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

distance piece (striations), 2011
Sound installation
Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Despite their appearance of spontaneity, Steve Roden’s (Los Angeles, b. 1964) works are derived from a process of transformation, translation, and decision making. As Roden describes it, he "uses various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) and translates them through self-invented systems into scores, which then influence the process of painting, drawing, sculpture, and composition. These scores, rigid in terms of their parameters and rules, are also full of holes for intuitive decisions, failures, and left turns. The inspirational source material becomes a kind of formal skeleton that the abstract finished works are built upon."
In the visual works, translations of information such as
text and maps become rules and systems for generating
visual actions such as color choices, number of elements,
amounts of time, and form building.
Roden’s Stone’s Throw series began when he found
several half-carved stones that his grandmother—a
sculptor—left in her studio after she had passed away. In
their unfinished state, these stones are objects in
transition, occupying a space between nature and sculpture.
In the process of creating paintings, drawings, sculpture,
film, and sound, Roden repeatedly referred back to the
stones to make visual decisions. The film striations translates
the static, interrupted information of his grandmother’s
unfinished stone sculptures into a state of engagement and
activity. The film contains imagery of Roden interacting
with and recontextualizing the artifacts found in his
grandmother’s studio.

Jorinde Voigt
Epikur (1), (7), (7/2), (12), (13), and (14), 2012
Ink, graphite, and gold leaf on paper, each 20 x 14 1/8 in.
Courtesy Michael and Jacky Ferro

Epikur (2), (3), (4), and (5), 2012
Ink, graphite, and gold leaf on paper, each 20 x 14 1/8 in.
Courtesy Anne and Kenneth Griffin

Jorinde Voigt (Berlin, b. 1977) relies on traditional
materials such as ink, oil stick, pencil, and watercolor to
create her drawings. The artist combines drawing and text
to document both real and fictional events—for example,
the flight of eagles, wind patterns, top-ten pop charts, and
kisses. Voigt relies on exacting methods to create her work:
algorithms determine the directions of a line or the
Fibonacci sequence is used to fix the number of lines. Her
work creates a visualization of concepts and phenomena
that suggests temporality through their spiraling and
crossing lines—more suggestive of esoteric experience than
rigid schematics. In Voigt’s meticulously drawn chaos the
relationship between process and result is laid bare.
Epikur is a series of drawings inspired by the ancient Greek
philosopher Epicurus and his text On Nature. Epicurus
advocated the scientific tradition of atomism, which
assumes particles and atoms are the smallest unit of matter.
Voigt uses gold leaf as a pure element, alluding to the purity
of the Epicurean soul. Voigt sees her work as music—you
do not need to know how to read a score in order to enjoy
it. To this end, Voigt’s visual elements transcend the
complexity of their sources, whether real or fictional.