Jennifer Stillwell

Blips and other Info

September 5 - October 5, 2019


Empty Gallery is pleased to present 'Blips and other Info', a solo exhibition of new work by Jennifer Stillwell.

This exhibition began as an invitation to create a site-specific installation for the gallery. Over the last six months, Jennifer produced and refined the various components of the exhibition, often working in direct response to the conditions (some favourable and some not so favourable) of the gallery. And while it may not be immediately evident at first glance, the work feels very much tied to the space, with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. The black and white stripes of temporary, prop-like leaning walls echo the colour-scheme of the existing architecture, while also providing a graphic, linear backdrop for whimsical, colourful 'blips' of data that appear throughout the space. The absurdity of the information is evident in the choice of materials, which are left bare for the viewer. The curve of a plastic straw is displayed as if the result of some mathematical algorithm; a rubber ball perpetually spins in isolation against a grey backdrop like some newly discovered planet.  Whatever their origin, these forms have been transformednot unlike the space of the galleryinto a visual playground. 

‘Blips and other Info’ runs from September 5 to October 5, 2019. Visit the gallery during regular hours or by appointment.

Jennifer Stillwell has exhibited widely over the past nineteen years challenging a variety of contexts from the landscape to post-industrial spaces to white-walled galleries. Stillwell studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and achieved an MFA with distinction in 2000. She has produced large-scale solo installations at the Darling Foundry, Montreal; Triple Candie, New York; Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; and YYZ Artist Outlet, Toronto. Group exhibitions include Oakville Galleries, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Windsor, and the Mendel Art Gallery, among many others. She completed a large-scale permanent public sculpture for the City of Winnipeg in 2014.

Jennifer has participated in artist residencies in Toronto, Montreal, Banff, Berlin, and Rotterdam. Since 1995, she has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including being selected as a semi-finalist in both 2002 and 2006 for Canada's preeminent Sobey Art Award. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Victoria.


Blips and other Info emerged from my consideration of the specific qualities of the floor of the gallery. I immediately wanted to create something 'plastic' and 'logical' in response to the random patterns and previous work histories spattered across the floor.

With this in mind, I started with a package of plastic straws and a kickstand. In my work, I playfully reanimate and reconfigure found objects in order to provoke imaginary possibilities while also grounding them in reality by experimenting with their physical limitations.

I overlap my experience in the wider landscape with specific everyday objects while considering their ultimate placement in the context of the gallery. I work to collapse the space between those overlaps into new forms—a 'crazy straw' becomes reminiscent of a blip of data on a line graph, or a bike kickstand works to hold up an 'abstract' wall. I want to transform things so a shift in meaning takes place.

With my ongoing considerations of immediacy and distance, abstraction and representation, physicality and the psychological, absurdity and logic, a 'slipperiness of space' occurs—through amplifying those tensions, my forms and imagery provide the viewer with opportunities to redefine what is previously understood.