George Jenne + Sarah Lasley
Curated by Clint Sleeper
July 2 – August 31, 2022
Art Crawl Receptions: Saturday July 9, 2022 and Saturday August 6, from 5-8pm
Gallery Hours during the exhibition: Saturdays 11-6pm and by appointment
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:
Unrequited Leisure is excited to announce the opening of our next exhibition, …rendering, a two-person show featuring George Jenne and Sarah Lasley.
ABOUT GEORGE + THE WORK:
George Jenne was born in Richmond Virginia to a father who, at age ten, watched HIS father Herb, who was a cold war spy, thread the buckles of a back brace that curled his spine as a disguise on the days that he left their German flat to insinuate himself into tense exchanges behind the iron curtain. A generation later, Herb, retired from espionage, secretly watched George sculpt his likeness in green clay, over the only armature he could find: a busty female mannequin, painted silver. The uncanny qualities of that facsimile brought George to Jim Henson’s Creature shop in Hollywood where, as a plebe, he was expected to watch all manner of abject videotapes under the gaze of an eight foot tall Big Bird, during lunch. He escaped California for New York, where he made movie props by day and exhibited art by night in spaces such as Exit Art, PS 122 and Freight+Volume, trekking weekly to teach at his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. George currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he creates video, sculpture, and prose for the sake of fakery, transgression, and a story well told. He is the director of Lump Projects in Raleigh, NC. He also hosts Mystery Meat, a semi-monthly screening of out-of-print and difficult-to-find genre movies.
You’ve Reached the Office of Stuart Ullman (redacted) was photographed in 2017 on a near-exact
replica that I built of the iconic, salmon colored office in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, The
Shining. While the set was on display at LUMP, in Raleigh, NC, I shot a series of short films and
videos in the office, in essence turning the gallery into my studio. In this case, I reshot “The Interview,” a scene where Jack Nicholson secures the job of winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. It is the first time we see the room, and we are forced to patiently sit through a drab exchange between Jack Torrence (Nicholson) and Stuart Ullman, the hotel’s manager, who maintains banal efficiency as he describes the horrendous murders that occurred in the Overlook, establishing ground zero for the entire narrative of The Shining. I have seen The Shining more times than I can possibly count. I have a habit of shifting my gaze toward the edge of frame when I watch movies that I’ve seen ad infinitum. I’m looking for new information. Objects specific to the era. Textures. Color. Minute detail that wasn’t intended to
be scrutinized. I don’t know why, exactly. Perhaps it is my attempt at an absolutist approach to movie watching. Leave no stone unturned. So for the film you see here, I mimicked the “The Interview” shot for shot, but I scoured it of the stuff you are expected to focus on; characters, dialogue, sound effects. All that remains is the set, props and edits between shots, which are matched frame for frame – a reduction to the material that you were never expected see. The whole endeavor is an experiment in verisimilitude run amok, where those peripheral details are painstakingly accounted for, but the overall imitation has veered off the rails. And by exploring the room so exhaustively, by recreating it verbatim, then re-enacting the shooting of the original scene, it lands somewhere beyond simple appropriation. In the end, I had incorporated the emotional resonance of Stuart Ullman’s office into my own psyche. I had
enmeshed its creation, it’s image, with my own personal narrative. Now, when I watch The Shining, and Stuart Ullman’s office pops onto screen, I think, “Hey, there’s my room,” and it truly feels as if I’m looking at my own installation, nestled perfectly inside of Kubrick’s film. Resentment sets in, as if I were the victim of intellectual theft. As if Kubrick stole the room from me, thirty-seven years before I created it. The sensation is disorienting and downright delusional. But perhaps this is the essence of fandom: a version of emotional theft, masked as appropriation. I stake a deep, personal claim on an icon that in truth I only know remotely, through worn VHS copies and Blu-ray restorations. It feels like I know the thing intimately. The thing doesn’t know anything of me. Yet, somehow, it is obvious that is was mine from the start, and it will remain so, “forever, and ever, and ever.”
ABOUT SARAH + THE WORK:
Sarah Lasley is a video artist from Louisville, Kentucky and an Assistant Professor of Film at Cal Poly Humboldt. She has screened internationally at film festivals and universities, notably the Cairo Video Festival in Egypt and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Her museum and gallery exhibitions include the Katonah Museum of Art in upstate New York, Leslie Hellar Workspace in New York City, and LAXART in Los Angeles. Lasley worked as an animator for Martha Stewart Omnimedia and title animator on Todd Haynes’s Academy Award Nominated film Carol, Panda Bear, and MGMT music videos. Recently she was awarded the grand prize for Blue Star Contemporary’s Projection/Projektion video program in collaboration with Darmstädter Sezession in Germany, where she will be an artist in residence in summer 2023. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Art and a BFA from University of Louisville and was a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2004.
Blending personal narrative with shared pop cultural experience, the artist manifests a longheld childhood fantasy set within the love scene from Dirty Dancing (1987). How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years juxtaposes pre-pubescent sexual desire with that of a woman descending her sexual peak. Fantasy is both a balm to religious piety and an act of resistance to the pressures put upon women approaching middle age. Here the digitally simulated image, in its wavering visual verisimilitude, exposes our willingness and desire to believe. Made alone at the onset of the Covid-19 quarantine.