James Jenkins - Monkey Mind

Monkey Mind2.jpg

January 2010 Winter Best of Show:
James Jenkins
, Monkey Mind

James Jenkins is a graduate of The University of Iowa with a BFA in sculpture. He has been actively engaged in the process of making art for most of his life. For the last fifteen years he has had the opportunity to work at it full time.
His work combines found objects, fabricated materials and a carefully researched background narrative. One of Jenkins' favorite intangible materials is a carefully applied modicum of humor.
The work can be as varied as 12' tall stainless steel human figures standing side by side at the St. Charles Public Library to a performance art project combining a fabricated drawing machine attached to a bicycle with the artist riding the machine to "draw rings around" the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Jenkins is forever "stitching" seemingly disparate objects and fabrications together to provide the viewer with an interesting visual and cerebral experience. It also provides the artist the opportunity to do something with his hands.

Photo's of the Winter Show can be viewed: here.
Video of Steve Sherrels anouncement: here.

Monkey Mind: A Hyper-anachronistic Allegory
Hand-forged round steel bar, recycled glass, Angiogram with pathology of the brain, monkey skull from a medical research experiment, fiberglass rod, electric motor, typewriter keys (I, M, P, A, C, T), chain, lexan tubing and sheet, hand-made paper, rotary knife blade from an abattoír, and infrared electronic sensor, 6 rpm, 4.5v D.C. motor.

The concept of Monkey Mind is borrowed from the practice of meditation. When meditation is first attempted, the beginner mind continues to jump around from thought to thought to thought and experiences 'monkey mind'. Before any meaningful meditation can be experienced, the 'monkey mind' must be controlled.
All the materials, with the exception of the electronic sensor and glass discs forming the framework for Peace of Mind (Angiogram) are either reclaimed scrap or discarded material.
The monkey skull was obtained from a medical experiment after the research had ended.
The two Chinese characters etched into the plate glass base form the word 'Crisis'. As individual characters they represent 'Danger' and 'Opportunity'. ("Glorious opportunities disguised as insoluble problems") The framework supporting the glass is in a sense a window frame. You may look out the window through the pane or, alternatively, see it as a window of opportunity.
The monkey skull is the result of subtle evolution. Originally part of a medical experiment, it now resides carefully cradled by a form-fitting cage with typewriter keys as support. A revenue stamp glued to the cranium is illustrative of the only two things certain in this life.
The 1½" diameter solid steel hook is hand-forged and required a 5# sledge hammer, an assistant in addition to myself, and six hours of labor to taper and bend it into shape. It may represent those things in life that we are hooked into in a big way.
Occam's Razor dangles from the Inevitable Chain of Events. The Great Stroke of Luck (i.e. lever system with monkey skull cage) is activated when the viewer approaches Peace of Mind. The gong continues to be struck until the viewer moves out of range of the sensor. Synchronistically, when struck, the rotary knife blade rings with a harmonic tone of A#.
The gathering of background information and supporting documentation associated with Monkey Mind began in December of 1995. The actual fabrication started in March of 2003 and was completed in May. There are 23 intentional puns embedded within the structural elements…

Great Stroke of Luck
Occam's Razor
Window of Opportunity
Death and Taxes
Peace (Piece) of Mind

Given the volume of notes, drawings, supporting documentation, and photographs, publication is in process. The resulting text will include all notes and clues and associated links to the piece as well as provide a complete navigational chart.
J. Jenkins © 2005


We are also pleased to announce that audio brographies are available for free download as well as two players in the gallery for visitors to incorporate into their visit.
Click here for a
full sensory experience: click here.