Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present Nearer Nature, an exhibition of new video and sculptures by Malia Jensen. Nearer Nature opens Friday, February 5th, and continues through April 3rd. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Jensen’s video and sculptures are part of her larger Nearer Nature project, which she began in 2019 with the support of the Creative Heights Initiative of the Oregon Community Foundation. Interested in cultivating a project that would enable her to explore our complex relationships with the natural world, Jensen carved six sculptures from livestock salt licks and installed them in wild places across the state of Oregon. Over a year, eighteen motion-triggered cameras monitored the sculptures and the surrounding landscape, recording not only wildlife but also the dissolution of the carved salt sculptures and the changing seasons.
As the surveillance concluded at each location, Jensen collected the deteriorated sculptures from their various sites, embracing the collaborative efforts of the animals and the corrosive effects of weather. Working with master craftsman Michael Endo and the Yucca Valley Material Lab, Jensen then created an edition of the sculptures in kiln-cast glass.
The results are a six-hour video entitled Worth Your Salt and several glass sculptures, all featured in Jensen’s exhibition. Made up of thousands of 30-second clips captured by Jensen’s trail cameras, Worth Your Salt features four channels on each monitor, replicating the grid of closed-circuit surveillance videos. The sculptures show the effects of the outdoors on their surface but also shadow their original designs, which represented different parts of the body: a Brancusi-esque head, a breast, two hands, a stack of doughnuts (the stomach), and a foot.
Jensen’s work gives us a window into the ordinary life of the natural world. Patterns emerge: changing light, growing antlers, pairings, births, behaviors shifting with the seasons. The mundane becomes beautiful, underscoring our interdependence with the ecosystem and the myriad ways we walk on shared ground.
Malia Jensen’s (b. 1966, Honolulu, HI) diverse studio practice is informed by an interest in natural cycles and the fragility of the constructed systems we use to navigate the world. Her work has been exhibited at The Schneider Museum of Art, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Tacoma Art Museum, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Holter Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, and Mesa Arts Center. She has been an Artist in Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Ucross Foundation, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Portland Garment Factory; and a visiting artist and speaker at Whitman College, Southern Oregon University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has completed several public commissions in the Northwestern United States, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections. She received a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1989. Jensen lives and works in Portland, OR.