Jenny Holzer who now resides and works in Hoosick Falls, New York, was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1950. She recieved a BA from Ohio University, as well as an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her primary work has to do with the use of language in the form of projections in public places. Her intense interest in language leads to attention grabbing public pieces. Much of the subject matter consists of question to consumerist impulses, the description of torture, or the lament of death and disease, although she has expanded beyond these three themes. Holzer has captured her public art in 45 locations since 1996, taking her art throughout the United States and much of Europe. What seems to be so captivating about her work, in it’s temporary public location, is its advertisement-like appeal. Advertisements are used to catch our attention and sell us a product, but with her art it has that same effect of catching your eye, except instead of selling you a product, it’s selling you a form of art. The size and placement of her projections capture the viewer and then the message within it keeps them interested and curious. The projections themselves are not permanent in anyway, but she makes her work more of a permanent act by documenting her projects, while in the process of projecting them, allowing audiences all over the world to view her work.
I found Holzer’s work to be quite captivating. As I first perused her work, I discovered myself becoming confused and almost noticing a rather depressing theme and I found it odd because they were these large pieces of text, projected on these famous foreign structures or important buildings, which should rather give off more of a majestic beauty or intrigue. As I went further I began to like it more and more and I was further able to see a more subtle majesty to it. I enjoyed it so much, to the point where I wanted to just read every single picture, although the language barrier prevented me from doing that in all of them. Although I am not inspired in the same way by language, I find words and quotes to be quite beautiful so I found Holzer’s work to be quite impressive, as well as fresh. Her photography is wonderful, but in her photos it’s the words that are the obvious subjects, and personally I find it hard not to notice them! Through her use of composition as well as clever use of language I think she has an amazing way of capturing the attention of her audience, expressing so many feelings, thoughts, and messages.