Posthaste Perennial Pattern

Jodie Mack

Museum of Arts and Design

Experimental animator Jodie Mack creates handmade 16mm films that combine the formal techniques and structures of abstract, absolute animation with those of cinematic genres. Frequently made with collaged domestic materials, her work explores the relationship between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced, decorative imagery.

Mack recycles and revives found materials from everyday life, and the stroboscopic effect in her animation imparts a kinetic energy to things we may otherwise deem banal. By embracing ornamental patterns and materials such as textiles, costume jewelry, and construction paper, Mack engages with a larger reframing of art history to include artistic modes such as craft and folk art, which were historically marginalized due to their associations with femininity, domesticity, or utility.

Posthaste Perennial Pattern fuses synthetic floral fabrics in a stop-motion animation that pulsates as if capturing a garden in bloom within a single moment. Mack playfully subverts the association of these textiles with stable, quiet household settings and furniture through this frenzied presentation of patterns. The interplay between the imagined passive domestic interiors that the patterns were intended to decorate, the graphic, two-dimensional illustration of organic matter, and the technologically imposed chaos becomes further amplified on the electronic billboards of Times Square.

“This piece was inspired by the human impulse to build infinitely upgradable technologies to represent, re-present, and re-represent natural phenomena. Fascinated by modes of measurement, synthesis, and image-making, I concentrate here on a collection of fabrics in which floral patterns are created via various application techniques. Through non-sequential animation, the piece creates a soothing, euphoric, and exuberant all-over field. It creates a waltz of flowers, interrupting the grid-like quadrants of Times Square to grow through the cracks.

“The magic of animation often relies on delight and wonderment among audiences. The opportunity to create this sense of wonderment in a public setting is thrilling to me. Let the selfies begin! In our wounded world, amidst major humanitarian crises, I think the artist’s role becomes increasingly unclear. But, here in these midnight moments, this daily three-minute respite from commerce, we can trade advertisements for products for advertisements of pleasure. Here the work appears to the general public as an antidote to the ‘feeds’ which provide no nourishment, but instead create anxiety and alienation.”

- Jodie Mack

Jodie Mack created Posthaste Perennial Pattern in response to Miriam Schapiro's 1973–74 collage-painting, The Beauty of Summer. Schapiro, a pioneering feminist artist, championed and referenced women’s domestic arts and crafts in her work, and her approach to everyday material continues to inspire artists today. Posthaste Perennial Pattern is presented in partnership with the Museum of Arts and Design’s exhibition Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro (March 22–September 9, 2018), which brings together Schapiro’s work alongside that of nine contemporary artists, including Jodie Mack, who explore pattern and ornamentation as a language of abstraction tied to the personal and the political.

Mack’s experimental animated films, known as ‘fabric flickers,’ in which textiles from plaids to paisleys come alive as pulsing abstractions, reflect the artist’s desire to unleash the kinetic energy in the everyday materials that surround us, as well as her unorthodox view of experimental film as being 'closer to folk art than fine art' for its use of pattern and collage.”

- Elissa Auther, Windgate Research and Collections Curator, Museum of Arts and Design


Jodie Mack’s (b. 1983, London, UK; lives and works in Vermont) 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Projections at the New York Film Festival, and the Viennale. She has presented solo programs at the 25FPS Festival, Anthology Film Archives, BFI London Film Festival, Harvard Film Archive, National Gallery of Art, REDCAT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, and Wexner Center for the Arts among others. Her work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Cinema Scope, The New York Times, and Senses of Cinema. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2014 "25 New Faces to Watch" and one of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' YBCA 100 in 2015, she is an Associate Professor of Animation at Dartmouth College. She is a 2017/18 Film Study Center Fellow and Roberta and David Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.


Photographs courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts.