Missoula Artist Talks About Her Inspirations

Missoula based artist, Jennifer Reifsneider, presented on her collection “Divided by the Whole” on March 28, 2019. Following Reifsneider’s talk, a closing reception was held in the Corr Gallery.

Divided by-in article

Reifsneider’s work looks at ideas of biology, mathematics, multiplicity and perception.

Reifsneider grew up on a farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. She draws inspiration from the repetitive, somewhat laborious work of agriculture.

“The quiet energy from agriculture is present in my work,” Reifsneider explained during her presentation. Her collection, “Divided by the Whole,” was completed over the last two years.

Reifsneider earned her BFA in Photography in 1995 from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. and her MFA in Studio Art in 2011 from California State University – Long Beach. In 2016 she moved back to Missoula, Mont.

She had never really worked with fibers until moving to Montana. Reifsneider learned to knit while talking classes at Joseph’s Coat, a yarn and fiber shop in Missoula. From there, Reifsneider taught herself to crochet and found solace with the mathematical concepts involved in it.

In addition to her farming background, Reifsneider looks to biology, mathematics, multiplicity and perception for artwork ideas. Her piece “Exponent” is based on the power of 10. Her goal was to create a piece with one million stitches in it. Although the work of art is massive, in reality there are only about 200,000 total stitches in the crocheted piece.

Exponent-in article

“Exponent” was created with the idea of using math and the power of 10 to create a massive crocheted piece with one million stitches.

Reifsneider is very intrigued by the idea of complementarity, especially when it comes to physics. The concept that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts” is evident in much of her work, particularly the piece “orbit.” There, the individual circles are equal to the diameter of every one of her knuckles. Those circles are arranged in a larger circle, equal to the rotational distance of both of Reifsneider’s arms.

Orbit- in article

Reifsneider’s piece, “Orbit,” is reminiscent of the physics based concepts of complementarity. Photo by Jennifer Reifsneider.

“I am interested in the patterns and systems that inform how we see the world,” explained Reifsneider.

Reifsneider’s artwork is housed in many private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Franklin Furnace Artist Book Archive and the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont.

For more information about the Fine Arts Gallery, please contact Aja Mujinga Sherrard at [email protected].

MORE STORIES