Jeanne Silverthorne

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

Jeanne Silverthorne’s installation was a meditation on the artist’s studio, providing a point of entry to a body of work that resonates in surprising ways. Her strategy of blowing up the small plaster fragments that are the material residue of the casting process and transforming them into large black rubber sculptures evokes the nature of the contemporary artist’s role: the need to search for new visual forms when so many have already been exhausted. Her investigation of the sculptural process through its leftovers lends an ironic cast to the persistence of artistic practice and the still prevalent tropes of the 19th-century artist’s studio. As Ingrid Schaffner points out in the introductory essay to the catalogue that accompanied Silverthorne’s show, this kind of response to the sense that art has reached a dead end goes back at least to the late ’60s, when artists like Bruce Nauman were

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