Artist Profile – Jacolby Satterwhite

Published on 2018-02-13

Artwork featured at the salon: 'Domestika' (2017) 360° Video with Audio (Edition 8, Duration: 15:24) 

A self-proclaimed “extended frame video installation performance diva,” Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986) creates dazzling 3D videos that involve symbolic musings on everything from fashion and sex to mathematics and philosophy. While he wields impressive fluency in a number of artistic domains, including fiber art and printmaking, Satterwhite dedicated his creative energies to computer technology from an early age and is considered a pioneer in new media. Born in South Carolina, he received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and went on to complete an MFA at the University of Pennsylvania, where his interest in digital and multimedia platforms solidified. 

Satterwhite’s works act as reflections on the mediating power of technology, using software like Maya and AfterEffects as tools to extend and amplify physical expression. The artist describes his work as a study in the “tactile relationship” between his own body, memory, online media, and his mother’s own artistic creations – a complex, layered motif that resurfaces across Satterwhite’s projects, including Country Ball (2012), as well as the the six-part video series Reifying Desire (2014). The latter multiple narrative undertaking employs both computer animation and live action elements to portray a 3D version of Satterwhite voguing across a digital landscape – a distorted simulacrum of reality that incorporates his drawings. The ambitious reflection on matrilineal ties and queerness is driven by a heightened sense of politicized intimacy through a distorted simulacrum of reality. 

Stylistically, Satterwhite’s works draw from an eclectic range of inspirations, fluidly combining surrealism with aesthetics of video games like Tomb Raider and Resident Evil (and often highlighting existing surrealist elements in game design as a result). His performance work proceeds from an equally diverse array of influencers; foremost, performance is an expansion of his formalist interests in painting – a surrogate space for geometric image-making by the body under choreographed conditions. But he also cites Björk and Michael Jackson as inspiration – and he has collaborated with musicians Trina and Ashland Mines, as well as porn star Antonio Biaggi.

Satterwhite’s videos and performances have been exhibited in galleries and art institutions for over a decade. Most recently he had solo shows at OHWOW Gallery in Los Angeles (now Moran Moran), Mallorca Landings in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (now Lundgren Gallery), the Bindery Projects in Minneapolis, and the Walker Gallery in Provincetown. He has also participated in group shows, most recently at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, the Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian, the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and the Brooklyn Art Museum. His works are also in the public collections at Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA, Seattle Art Museum, and the San Jose Museum of Art. 

Satterwhite is also the recipient of numerous grants and awards, most notably a United States Arts Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, a Queer Arts Mentorship Fellowship, a Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, and a Rhizome Net Art Grant. He has also held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, the Headlands Center for the Arts, Harvest Works, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. 

Artwork on loan from Moran Moran Gallery in LA for The Current Salon.

Artist Bio Written by Arshy Azizi for The Current.