Jean Shin is recognized for her large-scale installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. Using salvaged wood to create a monumental picnic table, Allée Gathering serves as a communal place to rest and gather together in conversation, observation, and reflection. Timbers cut from several felled tree trunks are connected, creating one continuous, horizontal tabletop lined with benches. The specific wood was sourced from ailing maple trees at Storm King Art Center's historic allée, a tree lined pathway. The vertical bisections make visible the trees’ inner cores while also revealing hidden signs of their illness and ultimate demise. The benches’ raw edge and outer bark gives the visitor a sense of the once-standing maples, almost as if one is within the tree itself. Relocated among Art Omi's community of young maple trees, the work continues ongoing dialogue on tree health and its impact on our ecosystem.
Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Jean Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos, and site-specific installations.