Inspired by the Japanese Horizontal Perceptions of Space Jill Baroff is to Show New Works at Bronx Museum

February 9, 2016

Light has a way of playing tricks on us, it can drastically change our perception, influence the atmosphere, or even unlock a never-before-seen or unnoticed moment in space and time. Jill Baroff is an American visual artist who felt captivated by the illuminated dance of light, and got inspired to create art that would attempt to convey this ungraspable visual sensation. Entitled in a grove, her exhibition at the Bronx Museum Terrace will display tree trunks collected from a grove in Upstate New York. The essential element of light in her work is channeled through hand-made grooves , capturing shadow and producing a unique visual effect. Baroff explores the aspects of chance and patterns of change, juxtaposed to the immovable and consistent nature of the stoic tree trunks.

Jill Baroff - artwork
Tree trunks from the Bronx as part of the installation

Capturing the Fleeting Moments of the Dance of Light

American visual creator Jill Baroff was born in 1954, and throughout her career she has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions. Several significant works by the artist have been sold at auctions, most notably 'Bending The Bow (Dances)' sold at Rago Arts and Auction Center 'Fine Art' back in 2006. Jill Baroff has been heavily influenced by the Japanese architecture, which she categorizes as “floor-based”, viewing it as opposed to the focus on verticality of the Western world. Ever since the mid-1990s, the artist acquired this influence and incorporated it into her work in a variety of ways and approaches. An image of a light shadow forming a bright, divided, trapezoid of clay and tatami has been burned into her memory, even 20 years after witnessing the fleeting moment during her six-month NEA fellowship in Japan. Baroff has since displayed this memorable influence in several exhibitions, most notably the Stolen Moments, where she described her work as an attempt of conveying these fleeting images. "The dark edge on water's surface caused by a shift in wind; a quickness in the landscape left by the movement of a bird; the sudden shadow of an airplane underfoot; moments within the stream of time that, somehow, break the flow like a crack; mirage-like, yet inevitable." These are the fleeting images which Jill Baroff aims to capture and envision.

Jill Baroff - artworks
The artist hand-made intricate grooves on the trunks in order to allow the light to cast its mesmerizing shadow

Changing Patterns and Perspectives Revolving around the Viewer

During her time spent in Japan, Jill enjoyed being mesmerized by the way light traveled across the weave of her tatami floor during the day. She would carefully observe and marvel at the constantly changing patterns of the mats made by the fleeting light, consequently affecting the shape and feel of the entire interior space. Now, the American creator is bringing this universal sensation from a distant land to her hometown of New York. Interestingly, the name of the exhibition – in a grove refers both to the site where the material come from, as well as to a short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, famously adapted by Akira Kurosawa in the iconic film Rashomon. The narrative of the story revolves around the same event seen through multiple eye-witness testimonies which contain conflicting information, and emphasizes how different our perspectives could be, even though we might be coming from similar or same backgrounds.

Jill Baroff - artwork
Jill Baroff invites the viewer to absorb the changing patterns in the dance of light

in a grove Solo Exhibition by Jill Baroff at The Bronx Museum of the Arts

As in the famous story and movie, the viewer in Jill Baroff’s exhibition becomes the pin around which the visual phenomena pivots and unfolds. Her installation pieces have all been routed by hand to form grooves which would effectively channel the light and capture shadows to portray the creator’s vision. The tree trunks have been painted with a single color, and even though the project is monochrome, it is perceived as intensely multi-colored. Named in a grove the solo exhibition by Jill Baroff is on view from February 24 – May 8, 2016 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

All images courtesy of the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the artist