Student David Holm watches some of Jaimie Warren’s videos as they play on small monitors on the wall of the Trisolini Gallery.
By Will Ashton
Through examining and depreciating the nature of life, art and entertainment, artist Jaimie Warren has presented her art all around the world. From Kansas City to Beijing, Warren has showcased her bizarre-but-acute videos and pictures to a wide audience, gaining great praise and even a United States Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award in 2011, presented by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
Now through two separate exhibits, ERMAHGERD (part 1) in the Trisolini Gallery in Baker Center and ERMAHGERD (part 2) in the Kennedy Museum of Art, Warren is letting Athens, OH get a taste of her work too.
“What interests me is to learn about popular culture and how artists draw from it,” said Petra Kralickova, curator of the Kennedy Museum of Art and organizer fr Warren’s exhibitions. “Warren, a photographer and performance artist is known for theatrical and humorous self-portraits. She uses handmade costumes and extensive make up to impersonate internet-distorted celebrities.”
Warren’s work first came to Athens on September 12, when she and Kralickova opened ERMAHGERD (part 2), according to The Post. Following a brief visit to the campus exhibit on September 19, Warren has let the work speak for itself. Residing back in New York City, Warren allowed the university to host her art throughout the fall semester, with (part 1) closing on October 30 and (part 2) ending its run on December 21.
“Fragmented by the viral memes, the work investigates contemporary etiquette, cultural clichés with focus on the identity of modern female stereotypes from art history, celebrity and popular culture,” Kralickova said. “Her process and building upon the internet use are both very interesting aspects of her work.”
Upon visiting the campus and its faculty, students, Warren was betaken by the openness and warmth she received for herself and her work when she came in late September. Warren’s work is just one seven new exhibits that the Kennedy Museum of Art has in store, according to WOUB.
(It’s) wonderful,” Warren said. “Everyone had a fantastic attitude and all were very outgoing and generous.”
While reactions to the work seem to be limited, as least from any public sources, Kralickova believes that Warren’s work is receiving good word-of-mouth and has spoken to a lot of people in the area.
“I don’t really have a way of knowing (people’s reactions to Warren’s work), but there has been a general interest from the student body in a work that speaks to them as the artist is using current popular culture,” Kralickova said.
The effort to bring Warren’s work to Athens naturally took a good amount of time, with months of back-and-forths and planning in the way before the art found itself at home with the galleries. Most of this time was spent on organizing the most effective means of expressing this odd art through everyone’s schedules and availabilities.
“We —Petra and I —spoke on and off for many months to figure out the most efficient use of everyone’s time and what works to have made and/or shipped to fill the two spaces,” Warren said.
Warren, upon visiting and exploring the campus, found that the open-minded and good-hearted personalities of Athens spoke well to her art and what she tries to communicate as an artist. She believed that her pieces would find a nice home at Ohio University.
“The friendliness, creativity, working in the wonderful spaces — the ‘cells’ as the studios —these were the things that spoke to me about Ohio University,” Warren said.
As for the work itself, while everyone seems to have different reactions, it seems that its messages on pop culture and our web media world today speaks volumes to its relevance and importance, something the university is known for celebrating and exploring.