Jess Levey is a New York based visual artist who works in photography, video installation, and sound. Her work has been exhibited at various art spaces in and around NYC including Exit Art, The Invisible Dog, NurtureArt, MoCADA, and The Rochester Contemporary. Jess was born and bred in Brooklyn, NY where she lived until her recent move to Jackson Heights, Queens where she lives with her husband and daughter. Jess currently works as the head of Digital Arts at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY. She received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from Hunter College.
Explanation of Works:
Lean In Project
Mama's ABCs explores the often complicated and dramatic emotions that come with motherhood. In this multi media collage various female voices express words from both sides of the parenting spectrum as a child’s puzzle is put into place.
For my Children's book appropriation works, I present a redefining of gender norms inspired by my own personal experience as a mother and full time worker as well as by Sheryl Sandberg's seminal new-feminism book Lean In. As she states in the chapter, Make your Partner a Real Partner," As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home."
For Wild Fire, I respond to our global environmental crisis. Projected imagery of a Colorado forest fire lights up a desert landscape- something that is ordinarily unlikely in this terrane, but may become more common as our planet faces detrimental changes.
Greener Pastures was created for a show entitled, “Brooklyn Utopias,” in which artists envisioned their ideal Brooklyn. At this time, I was working as a Teaching Artist in underserved schools in NYC where green space is nonexistent. Students could rarely go outside during the school day, and even if they were fortunate enough to have recess, they were only given slabs of concrete to play upon. My vision for my “Brooklyn Utopia” was Public school playgrounds full of grass and trees and curtains on windows instead of bars.
After the Crash
This project began after myself and thousands of others were laid off from their jobs in October 2008. The first work in this series was a photography project entitled After the Fold, for which I photographed the office of the magazine I worked for as we were packing up our careers. Through various media, I continued to explore the daily layoffs in the US and around the Globe as a reminder of how stability and structure are constantly in question and thus contradict their very own meaning. For one series of works, I invited fellow laid off New Yorkers into my studio to perform a pure gesture, as they “blacked out” a projected video image of the building in which they use to work. The final image was then photographed creating a still and monumental image.For another work from this project, Untitled #4- a 3 minute 15 second video installation, an image of a woman in an office chair is projected on a wall or cubicle (or seen here on a monitor). As she rolls back and forth in a hypnotic trance she progressively becomes more and more frustrated from her entrapment within her emotional and physical work environment.
For this project I investigated the over-development of New York City. Some of these works involve my video/photography collage process in which aspects of a photograph are deleted and then re-projected into the image, either as still imagery or subtle animation.
Other images, such as Meier’s On Prospect Park with Bird Migration involved still photographs created by projecting symbolic imagery onto facades of luxury condominiums in Brooklyn and then photographing the live collage. The inspiration behind the birds imagery in this particular photograph was inspired by the Audubon Society’s frustration with the development of this Richard Meier Condominium since it was built in the direct path of the Bird migration to and from Prospect Park.
New Collector BK: The Print Edition. Ground Floor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Collectively Assembled, 9th annual tART Exhibition. Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn, NY
Me Pix. Rochester Contemporary, Rochester, New York. Curated by Bleu Cease
Prolonged Exposure, Invisible Dog, Brooklyn NY
Brooklyn Utopias: Park Space, Green Space. Old Stone House, Brooklyn, NY
MomentaArt benefit and exhibition, Brooklyn, NY
NurtureArt Benefit. Chelsea Art Museum. New York, NY. Curated by Pamela Auchincloss, David Cohen, James Kalm, and Gregory Volk
Tomorrow’s Stars: The Art Brooklyn Open Call Exhibition. Verge Art fair, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Courtney Wendroff, Stephen Mallon, Steve Kaplan, and Danny Simmons
What is The Where?, A Recession Art Show. The Invisible Dog, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Ani Katz and Risa Shoup
NurtureArt Benefit. ZieherSmith Gallery. New York, NY. Curated by Dan Cameron, Ceci Moss, Jane Panetta, and Krista Saunders
Farm City. Old Stone House, Brooklyn, NY.Curated by Derek Denckla and Katherine Gressel
Hunter College MFA Thesis Exhibition. Hunter College Times Square Gallery. New York, NY
The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks. MoCADA, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Dexter Wimberly
America For Sale. Exit Art, New York, NY. Group Show. Curated by Lauren Rosati and Herb Tam
NurtureArt Benefit. Claire Oliver Gallery. New York, NY
Plan B. NurtureArt, Brooklyn, NY, Group Show. Curated by Krista Saunders
Brooklyn Utopias. Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY
Windows Brooklyn. Brooklyn, New York
I Heart Art: Work/Wassaic Benefit. Work Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Identity: in Focus. Kimmel Center Gallery, New York, NY
Brooklyn Artist's Gym. BAG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
NURTUREart Benefit. Cue Art Foundation, New York, NY
Redhead project. LMCC, New York, NY
The Brooklyn Collective. Brooklyn, NY
In Flux. Stay Gold Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Annex at David Allen Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Issue gallery, New York, NY
The Gallery at Artists & Fleas, Brooklyn, NY
CNBC.com. Recession-Inspired Art Grows in Brooklyn by Brooke Sopelsa. October 7, 2009
Forbes.com. Selling An America No One Wants To Buy, by Sarah Wolff. October 23, 2009
Perfomer, Mirror Piece I: Reconfigured by Joan Jonas. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 2010
Panelist, Artist Talk Back, What is the Where? The Invisible Dog, Brooklyn, NY, 2010
Selected participant, Paul Pfeiffer Artist Workshop. Hunter College, New York. 2009
Panelist, SEA poetry series. Exit Art, New York, NY. 2009