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a field guide to the timelessness of now

A solo exhibition at Cerritos College as part of their Window Dressing Series in October 2021. The installation included Dancing Leaf geometric designs inspired by traditional Celtic imagery applied on painted panels and fabric, while others were pinned to the wall.

Jason Jenn’s a field guide to the timelessness of now is a site-specific installation created from a process of carefully gathering leaves and other plant items from the local environment close to the exhibition site. They are dried and painted with metallic leaf in different patterns, then arranged into custom geometric forms reminiscent of mandalas. They are pinned to the wall, or attached to other materials, based on site-specific conditions. For the installation at the Cerritos College Art Gallery, Jenn will intuitively create a series of unique shapes and designs to fit the space of the display window. In advance of the installation, Jenn will visit the campus and local community to gather natural materials and return to the studio to adapt for use. There is always an element of surprise that emerges from the process based on the conditions of each location.

As Jenn points out, humanity these days is quite disconnected from the natural environment. By creating mandalas, historically meant for spiritual reflection and focus, out of the very natural materials from the surrounding environment, the artist hopes to re-establish a connection between the natural world, the gallery space, and the viewer. Despite its meager size, the complex structure of a leaf is a thing of beauty in and of itself. It inspires many meanings and possibilities. Even in death, the dried form is intimately connected with life. As part of nature's sublime cycle, it will return to the earth via decomposition to feed other forms of life. The use of metallic leaf on the leaves reminds the viewer of nature's divinity and echoes the use of precious metals in holy items throughout numerous cultures.

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