“Brown’s fragile magic recalls the charm of lantern shows, stereoscopic slides, and shadow puppetry, configuring images as conjurer’s tricks.”–Fred Camper, Chicago Reader
“[Sampson’s] work – especially its filmed medium – positions us constantly between the role of subject and object, and the fixity of her determined vision and the contingency of the natural world.”–Peter MacKeith, Dean, Faye Jones School of Architecture & Design, University of Arkansas, Red the Trees & Green the Land Catalog, Pori Art Museum, Finland
The work of video artists Gillian Brown & Cherie Sampson shares preoccupation with the in-between: glimpses of the subtle junctions between the substantial and the fleeting, form and dissolution, stillness and movement, void and quickening. Within these subtle junctions, the artists in their individual practices each explore suspension of duality and transience, expressed through various shared philosophical underpinnings, visual language and approaches to soundscape. Prevalent lexicons in their work include images that slowly dissolve, one into the other, creating transformations in disparate time, scale, and place: one season quietly slips into another; city lights become the cosmos; figures simply slide from view or merge with the landscape. Shifting perception and the evanescence of existence itself is intrinsic to both artists’ intermedia work.
Thematic allusions and motifs mutually investigated include the nature of the universe (order/chaos), natural cycles, the body, somatic introspection, coding and the languages of science – Gillian, inquiring into physics and mathematics and Cherie into medicine and genetics. Visual arrangements take form as multiplicity, geometry and symmetry, layering, juxtaposition and diagramming, often coalescing with text and textual references. Stratified sound environments are integral to their works, constructed of found sound, field recording and the presence of their own voices – whispered and spoken reading, recitation and chant. Their pieces are exhibited in several ways: as single channel videos, video projections onto sculptural objects or in installation spaces, often incorporating projection surfaces of gauze and silk, integrated into armatures of wire and wood. In Jill’s work, photography and painting intersect with her new media processes. Cherie’s live performances are often set in media-immersive spaces.
The artists are joined by an interest in Indian philosophy and arts where seeming opposites can partake of each other and differences fluidly dissipate in an embrace of the liminal. Wider cultural archetypes and narratives illustrate internal and external worlds, which are perpetually intertwined. Cherie’s many-year practice of meditation, yoga and classical Indian dance have deeply impacted the somatic research that informs her performance, dramaturgy and body art work. Jill, also having a decades-long meditation practice, has introduced ancient Indian motifs and creation myths into some of her pieces. These motifs might find themselves layered with images from western scientific theories, which have provided us with newer creation stories including the big bang.
Gillian Brown has been working with projected video for nearly 20 years, and has also worked extensively with photography, painting and installations. A graduate of Brown University (BA) and Rhode Island School of Design (MAE), she received her MFA from UCLA with an emphasis in photography with Robert Heinecken. Much of Brown’s recent video work has been for an ongoing series called “Works on Becoming.” In these pieces, imagery from a single video projector evocatively floats and multiplies onto sculptures of translucent and reflective materials. Thematically the series is informed by creation myths from around the world; recent scientific work on how existence comes into being, including cosmology and string theory; and her own sense of how something comes out of nothing in our consciousness and our perception. Brown has shown in many galleries and museums across the country and has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and several State Councils of the Arts, as well as a one-year Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Her work has been published in several catalogues and books including Photography from the Pompidou Center, and has been reviewed in many publications including Art in America, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Video works have been shown in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Washington DC, including the Women’s Museum, and in Los Angeles, as part of the Getty sponsored Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A.
Cherie Sampson has worked for thirty years as an interdisciplinary artist in environmental performance, sculpture and video art. She has exhibited internationally in art-in-nature symposia, video/film screenings and exhibitions in the U.S., Chile, France, Finland, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, the UK and other countries. Her solo in-situ performances have taken place in the U.S., Finland, Norway, Cuba, Spain, Netherlands (in a performance attended by the Dutch Queen) and South Korea. In 2018, the Pori Museum of Art in Finland acquired media documentation of her site-based installations and performances created in Finland for their permanent collection. Her current project titled “every.single.one” depicts an experience with hereditary breast cancer exploring topics of science, genetics and integrative healing from a patient’s perspective of modern medicine. Sampson is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships, a Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant and multiple university research grants. She is a Professor in the School of Visual Studies at the University of Missouri.