“It makes sense that the trees are talking to me. I hear the ocean sometimes, too. Others may be tuned in to the birds or the vibrations of geologic formations. We are not separate from nature… we are nature. When did we stop listening?”
Jeannine Bardo is a Brooklyn-born artist, curator, art educator and activist. She is the founder and artistic director of Stand4 Gallery and Community Art Center. Jeannine received her BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts and completed both a Masters in Art Education and a Masters in Fine Arts at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and thinker, with a focus on humanity’s connections to the natural world.
Jeannine has contributed writings to galleryELL, was a participating artist and juror for 5th Avenue SAW before becoming a board member and was a mentor and contributing writer to ART21 Educators. She collaborated on a NYC Public Artwork titled Ark for the Arts with fellow artist Isabelle Garbani that focused on climate change and resiliency in the community of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Jeannine is the Artistic Director, Co-founder and Curator of BioBAT Art Space.
Image courtesy of the artist
THRESHOLD Gallery (back room) Installation view
Wall: Monster I, 2021, brush and ink on paper, found frame with copper and faux gold leaf
Pedestals: collection of works from Assemblage Series, 2020-21
Image courtesy of the artist
Nature inspires me, specifically the tree species that surround me. I speak to them and I like to think they are speaking to me. In fact, I believe they started it. I never considered a conversation between the trees and myself as a possibility, but I remember the day I was struggling for inspiration and I spied the muscular roots of a tree planted in the sidewalk screaming to break free of its impossibly crowded root bed. That was the first whisper. The second came when I was walking past a trio of old oaks in my nearby park. I looked at their crooked branches reaching for each other and I felt electricity, some sort of current in the air around me. After that, I was aware of the constant chatter and I gave in to the seduction. I never looked back. They became my models and my muses. They refreshed my mind, gave me solace and reminded me to slow down. I mourned the ones I lost to old age, pests and neglect and now I find myself trying to save their offspring and trying to speak to the world in my own language what I believe they are telling me: “Act!”
It makes sense that the trees are talking to me. I hear the ocean sometimes, too. Others may be tuned in to the birds or the vibrations of geologic formations. We are not separate from nature…we are nature. When did we stop listening?
We are living in a time of rapid and disastrous ecological change that is the muck of our own making, propped up by stories and false truths we tell ourselves to justify our complicity in crimes against nature and each other.
How do we create a new narrative? Where do we look for answers, new inspirations for new systems? The stories that we tell ourselves are lies at their core, but the stories that nature can tell us are universal truths.
I’ll take my chances with the trees.
I am a multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on humanity’s connections to the natural world. My artistic language is informed by the natural sciences, history, literature, current events and the songs in my playlists.
The Raven Queen, 2022
found crow’s feather, graphite, light
Image courtesy of the artist
New Myths and Varied Tales: Truth, Lies and Shiny Objects
Artist talk was presented via Zoom on 12 February 2022, 3p ET/US
New Myths and Varied Tales: Truth, Lies and Shiny Objects focuses on our relationship to the natural world and to one another. It is an invitation to engage in conversation about how we identify and quantify value. It represents a space of shared stories that together have been transformed as a way to make sense of the trauma and violence we inflict everyday. This complex environment built from a place of hope and agency, provides new opportunities for engagement and conversation as we seek truth and collaboratively create new narratives.
Stand4’s THRESHOLD space, offers a shift in perspective from the imagined to the real, further questioning ideas of value and purpose.
Installation presented at Stand4 Gallery from January 14 – February 12, 2022
Six questions asked of all our guests.
What are you currently watching?
SO good about the SO very bad
What was the last meal you made?
Penne with garlic and oil and a green salad
Can you share a recipe?
I can share my chicken cutlet recipe, but no one would be able to make it as good as I do because I have NO idea what I do that makes them so popular.So I will share a favorite NYT chili recipe that is great for a crowd and incredibly layered with flavor. (also try this link)
Whose studio have you visited recently that really excited you?
Kristin Jensen. She makes beautifully absurd utilitarian objects that stay with you. I don’t need a tray necklace, but I want one, or a pillow/basin for that matter. The objects are both familiar and strange and they all bring a sense of comfort to me.
What have you seen recently (either art; performance; film, music; stage; etc.) that had a significant impact on you and your work?
My cultural diet has been lacking in these pandemic times. Most of my art consumption is in text form, but I plan on changing that in the very near future.
Thank you to Jeannine Bardo and the studioELL team for helping to make this visit possible.
This studioVISIT was presented over Zoom. The video was lightly edited for sound and visual clarity.
Jeannine Bardo | Dominique Christina | Stephanie Williams | Vishwa Shroff | Chloë Bass | Natalia de Campos & Thiago Szmrecsányi | Elly Clarke | Sameer Kulavoor | Alfonso Fernandez | Nyeema Morgan