January 11, 2019


Jennifer Eli French, Relic from the Future: Wedding Candelabra, Found objects, acrylic, polymer clay, 2018

Jennifer Eli French, Relic from the Future: Wedding Candelabra, Found objects, acrylic, polymer clay, 2018


Jennifer Eli French unveils exhibit in Northcutt Steele Gallery

'This Vibrant, Tarnished World' on display Jan. 16-Feb. 21 with Artist Conversation Jan. 22



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS—The Northcutt Steele Gallery at Montana State University Billings is pleased to present Jennifer Eli French's “This Vibrant, Tarnished World” beginning January 16. “This Vibrant, Tarnished World” is an installation created in response to the novel, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. A reception will be held on Thursday, Jan. 17 beginning at 5 p.m. in the lobby in front of the Northcutt Steele Gallery.


The exhibition is French's intricate, personal interpretation of the futuristic novel, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. A series of lectures, films, and book discussions will continue through February as a part of a community-wide celebration of the novel through the NEA Big Read. A Conversation with  the Artist will be Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in Liberal Arts Building room 205. The NEA Big Read in Billings is presented by The Writer's Voice in partnership with the MSU Billings Library.


In a mobile society, the things that we choose to preserve and carry become sacred. In Station Eleven, these cherished objects represent memory and longing for lost people, technologies, and ‘the sweetness of life on Earth’. “This Vibrant, Tarnished World” is a mixed media installation created by Billings artist Jennifer Eli French in response to the themes of nostalgia and longing in Station Eleven. Incorporating found objects, wire, polymer clay, acrylic paint, and a carousel slide projector, French’s ‘relics from the future’ depict objects submerged in the ocean of time, encrusted with natural growths and detritus of a lost civilization. 


Born in Colorado, Jennifer Eli French moved frequently while growing up but always spent summers on her family ranch in Montana. After attending high school in England, she earned a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. She returned to live and work in Montana in 2013. French derives inspiration from the worlds of Medieval art, Victoriana, the Western landscape, and “the strange beauty she finds in the darker corners of history” to create her intricately painted skulls, surreal paintings, and installations. She is represented by the Stapleton Gallery in Billings.


French’s exhibit will be on display until February 21. Both the reception and Conversation with the Artist are free and open to the public. The Northcutt Steele Gallery is located on the first floor of the Liberal Arts building on the Montana State University Billings campus. Parking on the campus is free after 5 p.m. For more information visit www.msubillings.edu/gallery or www.facebook.com/northcuttsteelegallery.


For media inquiries contact Jodi Lightner, assistant professor of art, jodi.lightner@msubillings.edu or 657-2986.