JODY JOYNER: The Infinite Lawn
The Infinite Lawn
August 6 – October 22, 2021
The Infinite Lawn takes its title from a chapter of an Italo Calvino novel in which the protagonist observes his front lawn while pulling up weeds one afternoon. At a distance, a mowed lawn appears as a uniform green expanse, almost like an outdoor carpet. In Calvino’s words, “…the lawn is an artificial object,” one which represents nature. Yet, up close, the monolithic lawn is unruly and nearly impossible to quantify- a relentless, ad hoc proliferation of clover, dichondra, darnel and dandelions.
Calvino’s character wonders: “…is ‘the lawn’ what we see or do we see one grass plus one grass plus one grass…. What we call ‘seeing the lawn’ is only an effect of our coarse slapdash senses; a collection exists only because it is formed of discrete elements. There is no point in counting them, the number does not matter; what matters is grasping in one glance all the individual plants, one by one, in their individualities and differences.”
In this site-specific video installation Jody Joyner extends this question of scale and perception to consider the lawn as a material, a form, and a site. Salvaged scraps of astroturf cover the facade of the house. The front lawn is extended into a series of vertical turf planes that reiterate the lawn as a surface bounded by the constraints of architecture and urban design. The scraps of astroturf themselves, each with a different texture, depth, and color, underscore the artificiality and object-ness of the lawn.
Throughout the exhibition, the astroturf installation will be activated by a series of video projections. Earlier this summer, Joyner filmed front lawns in her neighborhood of West Adams in Los Angeles as well as on site at The Yard. Using a probe macro lens to film blades of grass up close, the footage captures texture and details of the lawn not visible to the human eye. The fuzz on a discarded tennis ball becomes hairy, each bristle of a dandelion seed can be seen in full relief, and the brown thatch underneath blades of grass becomes an ecosystem in and of itself. In the two-channel video projection, these and other found subjects will be viewable at an architectural scale.
Jody Joyner (b.1988, Tucson A.Z.) is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, and video. Jody has exhibited work at venues such as Other Places Art Fair (Los Angeles, CA), UCSB (Santa Barbara, CA), Life Lessons Garage (Far Rockaway, NY), 6Base (Bronx, NY) and Abrons Art Center (New York, NY), Yale University (New Haven, CT), and Industry City (Brooklyn, NY). She has received support for her work from the Al Held Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, the Josef Albers Traveling Fellowship and the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She received her M.F.A. from Yale University and her B.A. from Colorado College. Jody is currently on the faculty at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia, PA and previously served as visiting faculty in the Art Department at Colorado College.