A recent trip to the Bryant Park Grill lead us to discover the enchanting work of a very unique visual artist. In the floral decorating industry, of course we love fresh arrangements in restaurants like this. Here we found a botanical installation of a different sort, to have just as much of an elegant presence. Gently swaying along the far wall of the lounge area, is a captivating digital projection of a hanging plant. In researching the artist, we found that her work is featured not only throughout the city, but all over the world. One of the most celebrated visual artists today, you will find Jennifer Steinkamp’s high end 3-D animations everywhere from Los Angeles, California, to Istanbul Turkey, Hong Kong, Korea, London, and everywhere in between.
There is an ongoing nature based theme in her modern works, but this was not always the case. It is noted that at the beginning of her career, her work was more abstract; loud colors and lots of movement. It has since evolved to incorporate more nature based imageries; flowers, trees, water, and landscapes. Some temporary and some permanent, her installations are presented in many contexts. If you are uptown, visit the classic and contemporary restaurant ROBERT. Located on the 9th floor of The Museum of Arts and Design, it overlooks Central Park West in Columbus Circle. There you will find another projected installation by Jennifer Steinkamp. This one is displayed on on a 103″ plasma screen and is entitled “Orbit 2″; a progression of the changing seasons.
In order to create such lively and imaginative scenes, one would have to be an avid nature study. Born in Denver, Colorado, she dons her mother a “flower freak” for keeping thousands of tulips in the backyard. Today she edits each and every animated detail in Photoshop; every individual leaf, branch, and ripple in the water. Her pieces move and flow, and are even programmed to change season. “People might feel like they need Spring” she has said, on programming her trees to change season. Astounding is that some of these visual shifts are even motion detected, for instance with the opening or closing of a door. A design school drop out, she worked in special effects in LA, and later moved to New York to animate commercials for Fujifilm. She eventually earned a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts, as well as a Master of Fine Arts. What a way to go! She is currently teaching at UCLA.
Bryant Park Grill
by Bernadette Lords