New York based Jill Levine has been working with mixed media sculpture for over thirty years. Jill Levine started her career in the buzzing East Village in the 1980s. Her work, in some ways, is a celebration of this time — a flux of colour, line, and form resulting in highly abstract work, in a constant state of metamorphosis.
Jill Levine has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000, and also an NYFA grant in 2005, with an upcoming show in the Thomas Jaeckel Gallery in Chelsea. All of her sculptures a mixed media — a combination of pre-cut styrofoam, bent and shaped into her complicated abstract configurations. Covered in plaster dipped gauze, they then become the canvas for her paint. Her work takes references from Indian and pre-Colombian imagery. Eye popping colours, and dizzying patterns interplay on the robust forms of her sculptures — simultaneously enhancing the sculpture while also obscuring it. Each one of her works is scaled to human size, there is playful kind of symmetry with her work. An amalgamation of Shamanistic symbols, Aztec prints, and esoteric tribal figures. She recalls a trip to Mexico, over twenty years ago, to visit some Pre-Colombian ruins, a trip that has become a constant source of inspiration to this day.
“In the recent sculpture as a compliment to the symmetry I used the serapes I have around my house as an inspiration on how to paint them. I wanted to use colour to expand the sculptural forms. I think I am always reacting to myself when I work. Over the years my sculptures resembled toys, tools, or molecular structures, growing more complicated. It seems only natural that now the work is simpler, a kind of cycle. “ - Jill Levine
Words by Hannah Tan