Installation of Jeffrey Stuker's work

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Jeffrey Stuker

Jeffrey Stuker was born in Colorado in 1979. He received an MFA from Yale University, where he also taught critical theory and art from 2006 to 2013. Stuker is currently a coeditor of the journal Effects and the director of the Seeld Library, a project bringing together a community of thinkers whose scholarly and artistic practices explore the phenomenon of second nature—the representation of socially constructed values as if they were the outcome of an inevitable biological process. A central focus of Stuker’s work is mimicry—both in nature, where it provides a strategy for the survival of certain species, and in digital imaging, which can manifest hyper-lifelike representations of reality. Stuker creates carefully rendered computer-generated images, planting coded historical, scientific, and industrial references within. These images exist as part simulation and part documentation; their factualness remains elusive or, rather, allegorical.

In his projects for Made in L.A. 2020, Stuker further examines the relationship between the synthetic and the organic, engaging and considering mimicry as a metaphor for how organisms relate to their environments. The medium-format slides on view here are partners to a digital video presented at the Hammer Museum. Both showcase the Papilio clytia butterfly and explore its mimetic qualities, but while the video work presents the insects pinned and labeled as specimens, the slides situate them in nature, resurrected, albeit in an entirely manufactured process, since both subject and context are wholly computer-generated. The museological quality of the presentation aims to reassure and convince the viewer of its reliability (in a manner not dissimilar to natural mimicry). The location of this installation is also a key factor in both establishing the legitimacy of the content and fleshing out the story told by the work: indeed, The Huntington’s Botanical Gardens (themselves mimetic) and the nearby California Institute of Technology—where, in 1988, the rendering equation (the Monte Carlo algorithm) used to visualize computer-drawn images in general, and these images in particular, was introduced—are important contexts for the extended history of this work.

In Made in L.A. 2020: a version, the artist's work is present in two institutions, across Los Angeles. See Jeffrey Stuker's work on view at the Hammer.

BIOGRAPHY
Jeffrey Stuker was born in Colorado in 1979. He received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and an MFA from Yale University, where he also taught from 2006 to 2013. Stuker is currently a coeditor of the journal Effects and the director of the Seeld Library, a project bringing together a community of thinkers whose scholarly and artistic practices explore the phenomenon of second nature—the representation of socially constructed values as if they were the outcome of an inevitable biological process. His artistic practice is concerned with the synthetic characteristics of seemingly organic processes. His particular focus on mimicry—as we see it in nature, used as a strategy for the survival of certain species—points to resemblances between the power of the electronic image to captivate and the lures used by animals to avoid capture in the jaws of their predators. Producing extremely accurate computer-generated imagery that he infuses with historical, scientific, or industrial references, Stuker exemplifies through his films an age of images without actual referents, creating a point of contact between the subject the work depicts and the technology that made the depiction possible. His work has been exhibited at Garden, Los Angeles (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018); Hunter/Whitfield, London (2016); and Full Haus, Los Angeles (2015).

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