Puppet Me, 2014. Platinum silicone rubber, phosphorescent pigment, wire resin, and thread, 6 x 5 x 5 in. Photo: Gene Ogami

My Mother’s House, My Father’s House: A Conversation with Jeanne Silverthorne

For more than 30 years, Jeanne Silverthorne has investigated the psychological and physical space of the studio, as well as its successes and failures. For her, the studio is reality and more than reality. She identifies with its beat-up chairs, wiring, floorboards spent light bulbs—even its flies. Taken from the studio, her sculptures also become stand-ins for the artist herself. “What is Real?,” her show at the German Consulate last year, featured the artist in a range of guises—as Wile E. Coyote (with Breasts), as a questioning, insecure Socrates bobble-head with a noose nearby, as two skeletons boxing, and as a scaled-down rubber figure in a transparent cage. The self as creative space, and everything surrounding it, is mutable, subject to change, merger, and distortion. With humor, shifts in scale, and slyly tilted revisions of history, Silverthorne collapses and expands age-old questions about art and life.

Jan Garden Castro: What drives you as an artist?
Jeanne Silverthorne: I wish I knew. Nobody’s ever asked me that, even after all these years. I know I am driven. I can’t manage without doing this. I get these glimmers of an image popping into my head . . .

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