Mark Jeffery is a performance artist, curator, and educator who is a frequent developer of unconventional collaborations with artists, scholars, dancers, choreographers, and writers. His work is often research-based and examines the ways in which performances have historically been centered around interdisciplinarity. The result is a vocabulary of labor gestures developed from investigations into disappearing working class iconographies. Jeffery considers performers as conduits that others outside the department may migrate towards and leave with newfound perspectives on their own practice. His recent work involved collaborations with Lucy Cash on Last Milk, as well as a series of drawings with Iris Bernblum.
Jeffery has performed and exhibited at 606 Trail, Chicago, IL; Alfred De Vrove, Prague; Australian Centre for Moving Image, Melbourne; Chisenhale Dance Space, London; Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL; International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, IL; Performance Arcade, Wellington, NZ; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He was a member of the internationally renowned Goat Island Performance Group from 1996 to 2009. In 2012, he co-founded the language, performance, and technology collective Anatomical Theaters of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r) with writer and digital artist Judd Morrissey. He is also the organizer of the IN>TIME Tri Annual performance festival hosted by multiple venues in Chicago, which had its last edition in winter of 2019. Since 2018, Jeffery has run a DIY Performance, Sound, Video and Art space out of his home called Ohklahomo that always provides dinner as well. Beginning in 2019, he has collaborated with Kelly Kaczinski and Shannon Stratton on a slow, long project called Living Within the Play at The Poor Farm in Wisconsin. Jeffery is currently the Chair of SAIC’s Performance Department./p> 2022 is my 28th year of performance making. In the last 25 years I have learned that invitation, interruption and opportunity keep me creatively evolving. 25 years of, performing, collaborating, rehearsing, touring, exhibiting and always questioning what it means for my body and the bodies I work with to formally capture and craft highly disciplined, focused and visually striking images that are still, slow, deliberate and always in active motion. I have rotated multiple fertile fields of creative work that include performances, exhibitions, curatorial projects, published books and articles in journals. I see work that I have made grow, multiply and expand, open into new and unknown territories. In these twenty five years I have overseen a voice grow from a skinny, geeky, anxious, ultra shy gay boy to a man that is forceful, that cares and carries the weight of others and himself - in this body that is still anxious and still quivers, but has learnt how a quivering hand can stitch, outlining territories of focus in a patchwork landscape of materials and bodies.
Over the years I have seen a ground sewn, sewed, ploughed, jumped on, fallen on, taken away from, cried on, danced on. I have seen a ground where a mother has left a son, a father's eyes bruised black and blue, rib cage cracked, and part of a skull removed. On a ground of the images I make I seek stillness, I witness and see urgency in the unstable.
On a ground of the images I make I seek stillness, I witness and see urgency in the unstable.
The unknown teaches me and forces me to take risks, to be daring within a context. The ground is shaking, my body is quivering and in order to see I create visual images of stillness and arrest, tenderness, horror, beauty and anxiety, spaces of fear and control. In endings, there are new beginnings. Take the plough, cut the field and begin again. In endings I see beginnings.
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.