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Jennifer Levonian: Shake Out Your Cloth

Jepson Center September 30-November 20, 2016

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Jennifer Levonian’s work transforms the fabric of the everyday into the fantastical—or at the very least, the hilarious. In the exhibition Shake Out Your Cloth, Levonian presents a recent cut-paper animation titled Xylophone, as well as three quilts loosely inspired by the protagonist of the video. Painstakingly crafted from hundreds of individual watercolors, her stop-motion animations often feature a character trying to break free from social rituals and clichés.

Xylophone relays the story of a pregnant woman who frees a goat from a petting zoo, and together, they “go on a madcap romp through the neighborhood,” as Levonian explains. The female protagonist of Xylophone is a quilter, which inspired Levonian’s own three quilts as real-life props for the animation. To some degree, all of the quilts explore the theme of entrapment/escape, and the quilt squares resemble the animation frames that are the building blocks of Levonian’s work.

Xylophone will be on view daily in the Jepson Center Neises Auditorium, and the quilts will be on view at the third floor landing. This presentation is organized to supplement the Textile Society of America’s 15th biennial symposium occurring in Savannah on October 21–23 and Telfair’s exhibition Historic Cottons to Modern Polyesters: Quilts from Telfair’s Collection on view at the Telfair Academy through November 6.

Jennifer Levonian (American, b. 1977) lives and works in Philadelphia. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Sarah Lawrence College, New York; Exit Art, New York; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Sante Fe Art Institute, NM; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA; Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia; and Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR; among others. Levonian has been a resident at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME; and the Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY. She received her BA from The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. In 2009, she was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Levonian is represented by Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia.

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Jennifer Levonian (American, b. 1977)
Xylophone, 2016
Cutout animation using watercolor and gouache
TRT: 8:47
Music: Corey Marc Fogel
Courtesy the Artist and Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia
Copyright the Artist