From March 30 to June 24, 2001, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present the exhibition Jennifer Sterling: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design. Organized by SFMOMA Curator of Architecture, Design and Digital Projects Aaron Betsky, the exhibition features 16 works by the well-known San Francisco designer, including the Blue Shield of California 1997 Annual Report, San Francisco Performances DV8 Physical Theatre Poster, Quickturn 1995 Annual Report, Regis University Women’s Volleyball Brochure and the Pina Zangaro Spring Catalogue.
By working at extremes in scale—from oversized posters to minute type—Sterling turns text into texture and abstracts content into purely graphic elements. Sterling also plays on what is supposed to be the neutrality of the printed surface by using found fragments of letters, photocopying and manipulating them until they develop a ragged patina. She punches, slices and recombines information on many levels, creating intricate puzzles out of which messages emerge. Sterling experiments extensively with typography in her work, often reinterpreting traditional elements by presenting type in the context of physical metaphors such as laser etching, die cutting and embossing.
Sterling is founding partner of San Francisco-based Sterling Design, which specializes in communication solutions from naming, branding and packaging to annual reports, Web sites and product design. Her work has appeared in Graphis, ID Design Review, Communications Arts, Type Director’s Club, the American Center for Design’s 100 Show, AIGA annuals and the Society of Illustrators. Sterling is currently a member of the design faculty of the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC), where she teaches experimental typography in graphic design. Her work is included in the permanent collections of SFMOMA, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.