A publication documenting an MFA studio
‘Transform-action: Adventures in the Realm of Transformation Design,’ is a publication documenting the work of Pratt Graduate Communications Design candidates during the first two years of the MFA studio, Transformation Design. Students explore a kind of creative wilding, conducting visual research in the public realm, outside of the safe confines of the studio. The results expose design not only as noun—media, artifact, information—but also as verb, as a generative action that lives in the world.
Book design by MFA graduate Skyler Balbus and Jean Brennan. Studio taught by Jean Brennan 2011; Jean Brennan and Gala Narezo 2010. Printed by Pratt Press. An accompanying exhibit
occurred Fall 2013.
Tracing the mythologies of the Vernal Equinox
A storytelling and dance performance that tells how rabbits lay eggs, why eggs are hidden, and how to go into the underworld and return to the light.
Written and performed by dancer Susan Osberg. Video, sound and printed matter by Jean Brennan. View Inanna
(Part 1 of 3 videos). Performed in Beacon, NY Spring 2013.
Documentation of the Two Row Paddle down the Hudson River
2013 marks the 400 year anniversary of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch immigrants. To mark this historical moment, the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign organized a row of 200 paddlers from Albany to New York City. Environmental cleanup and preservation are core components of the campaign. I participated in the row for several days and captured images of this historic event with aerial photography using a helium weather balloon with Kalene Rivers and Ruby Rodgers.
2d to 3d, and back again
Images from two productive weeks at Haystack in Deer Isle, Maine, exploring the iterative making process between 2D and 3D. Made possible in part by a NYFA SOS grant.
Capturing a community from above
I was invited to create a placemaking installation for a community event, Middle Main in Motion, organized by Hudson River Housing.
PAUSE director, Matthew Slaats, and I took aerial photographs of the neighborhood using a 5’ diameter helium balloon carrying a small camera. We then pieced selected images together to create a mural and invited residents to help tell the story of possibility in the vacant buildings and lots between Cherry and Rose Street.
Design, branding and marketing for a progressive elementary
The branding focuses on beautiful photography coupled with simple direct language to capture the attention of local residents in low budget advertising contexts. This has included brochures, ads, posters and special events. A small sampling of pieces created from 2010 - 2013 above.
Classroom images: Art Directed by Jean Brennan, Photographed by Tony Cenicola. Playground photo by Cappy Hotchkiss.
Object typology as family identity
This collection is a visual meditation on the objects and materials that pass through the lives of a family of four over 300 days from September 2009 to July 2010. As a mock anthropological study, each artifact (>3g in weight) was photographed and tagged with its respective date, material, weight, user, function and color and uploaded daily to an online feed
Users were able to ‘sort’ through a family’s trash and via this act expose the trash can, like the project itself, as a portal from private to public property. The printed collection, a sampling of the 1,144 items documented, is unbound and likewise sortable.
The notion of documenting trash is as absurd as the notion of trash itself. Archiving our own absurdity was only one of the intentions. One might consider how these objects hold sway over our mental realm, how our own subjectivity is governed by the things we consume on a daily basis. As such, this archive is a family portrait.
The study was exhibited at the Center for Digital Arts gallery in Peekskill NY. A mending workshop
accompanied the exhibit.
A public art workshop in Beacon, NY
Children, ages 5-10, collaboratively built an installation based on the following themes: early dwellings, human and animal; climbing structures, and things that take flight.
Materials were collected at local resource recovery centers and the community at large. Workshop sessions culminated in an opening on Beacon’s ‘Second Saturday’ at Open Space gallery with an installation of the work produced and a stop motion video projection documenting the 3 weekends of making. This event was open and free to the public. See the FB page
for more info.
Conducted by Valerie Foster Adam, Jean Brennan, and Kalene Rivers.
300 days of colors consumed
Above, a segment from Color by Day, a video projected as part of the exhibit 'What Color is Your Trash Babycakes?' at the Digital Art Center in Peekskill, NY.
This video pulls the primary color from each article documented during the Squanderless
project. Each day of documentation represents 1 second resulting in a 300 second (5 minute) video. The pace quickens as the amount of trash discarded on any given day increases, and vice-versa.
The Squanderless body of work explores the emotional resonance of material objects in our lives. One of the data sets gathered for this project was color. The following quote accompanies the video:
“It is evident therefore that colour harmony must rest only on a corresponding vibration in the human soul; and this is one of the guiding principles of the inner need.”
- Wassily Kandinsky, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”
This is a series of prints (both digital and screen) that explore common materials in domestic waste: tin foil, plastic wrap, foam packaging and newsprint/paper. As man made materials populate our world in the form of trash, these materials become our landscape both figuratively and literally. The prints transform these everyday objects into topographic maps, exploring volume, shape and materiality and the similarities between these and natural forms, breaking down the construct between the natural and the man made as one becomes the other. More here