Jen Stark Reveals Her Tunnel Vision
By Genie Davis.
Jen Stark has brought a unique kind of Tunnel Vision to Santa Monica’s Triangle Square. Within a series of ten rings, Stark’s sculpture changes color gradients based on where the viewer observes the work. The outdoor installation uses repeating rings to reveal polychromatic and monochromatic visuals. The optical illusion of Stark’s work is fascinating, with one side of the work a rainbow of bright primary colors, and the other black and white – it’s all about perspective.
The 20-foot-long sculpture is made up of 10 waterjet-cut aluminum rings coated in semi-gloss enamel paint.
Stark conceived of the idea for the work in part because of her love of artwork in outdoor spaces. “I thought Triangle Square could be perfect for a work with multiple perspectives. I wanted the area to have an unexpected burst of color and gradients among the grass and buildings surrounding it. I decided the piece should be 20-feet long because it is such a huge location, and it fits in the space very well.”
The sculpture follows the trajectory of the artist’s past sculptural works. “My work has a constant theme with color and shape…most other large scale sculptures I’ve created have been indoors, and this is my very first outdoor sculpture. So very excited about this one,” she enthuses.
The artist wanted to create a truly dynamic sculpture with multiple sides in the space because Triangle Square is such a highly-trafficked area. “People are walking, driving and biking around from all different sides, so I wanted the viewer to be able to see the work from multiple angles. I also think artwork that is most successful makes the viewer think they are discovering something. By using different colors at multiple angles, it definitely gives this sense of surprise and discovery,” Stark explains.
The immersive nature of the work ties into that sense of surprise. Stark wished to create a complete experience for viewers. “I love the fact that it looks so different from many different angles. I wanted to give the viewer an immersive and interactive experience with this piece. I also love that people are able to walk inside of it, and see it from different perspectives.” The work also offers a little whimsical irony in that this series of fascinating circles is positioned in a space known as Triangle Square.
“There is definitely a bit of a play on words here. I use circles and geometric shapes a lot in my artwork, and thought it would be fitting to complete the cycle of having circles in Triangle Square,” Stark relates.
In describing her process, Stark explains that the work was painted with many different colors of enamel paint. “The colors were the most difficult to keep up with since each ring had to have two different color combinations in the correct order. I had a very skilled fabricator cut the steel with a plasma cutter and then weld supports on. It was a challenge to install because each ring is about 100 pounds, but we got it done and I’m very happy with how the work came out.”
Stark’s work is the latest installation for the City of Santa Monica Art Commission’s public art initiative, ROAM Santa Monica, dedicated to the expansion of cultural offerings and public art in the city. Florid- born and Los Angeles-based, Stark’s work is also seen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and MOCA Miami among other spaces.
Triangle Square, Santa Monica.
Located on the Colorado Esplanade and Third Street,
adjacent to the Sears building and Santa Monica Place.