Working in cut-paper animation, Jennifer Levonian engages with everyday life by focusing on events that often go unnoticed, transforming them into humorously bizarre narratives. Painstakingly crafted from hundreds of individual watercolors, her stop-motion animations often feature a protagonist trying to break free from social rituals and cliches. In the exhibition Shake Out Your Cloth, Levonian presents a new animation entitled Xylophone as well as quilts and watercolors loosely inspired by the animated film. Xylophone relays a story of a pregnant woman who frees a goat from a petting zoo who then both "go on a madcap romp through the neighborhood," as Levonian explains. The female protagonist of Xylophone is a quilter and Levonian has made a group of three quilts that take on the role of real-life props for the animation. To some degree, all of the quilts explore the theme of entrapment/escape and each quilt square resembles the animation frames that are the building blocks of Levonian's primary artistic practice. Levonian will also present a third body of work featuring watercolor drawings based on in-between scenes that do not appear in Xylophone.
Jennifer Levonian lives and works in Philadelphia. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Sarah Lawrence College, New York; Exit Art, New York; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Sante Fe Art Institute, NM; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA; Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia; and Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR, among others. Levonian has been a resident at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME; and the Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY. She received her BA from The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. In 2009, she was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.