Janine Antoni (b. January 19, 1964 in Freeport, Bahamas) is a contemporary artist whose work focuses mostly on process.
She often uses her whole body or different parts of it, such as her mouth, hair, eyelashes, and brain as tools and with them performs everyday activities to create her artwork. For example, in her work Gnaw (1992) Antoni uses her mouth and the activity of eating or chewing to carve two 600 lb. cubes, one made of chocolate, the other of lard, and then used the chewed out bits to create chocolate boxes and lipstick tubes, which she then displayed in a mock store front. In this work and others, Antoni often confronts issues such as materiality, process, the body, cultural perceptions of femininity, and her art historical roots.
In Loving Care (1992) Antoni uses her hair as a paintbrush and Loving Care hair dye as her paint. Antoni dips her hair in a bucket of hair dye and mops the gallery floor on her hands and knees and in the process pushes the viewers out of the gallery space. Once again, in this process Antoni explores the body, as well as themes of power, femininity, and the style of abstract expressionism.
Tableaux vivants is another form of creation that Antoni has been described as utilizing. In her installation Slumber (1994) Antoni sleeps in the gallery. While she sleeps, an EEG machine records her REM patterns, which she then weaves into a blanket under which she sleeps. This particular work is seen as a tableau vivant because of the spectacle aspect of it:
The aspirational focus of this tableau vivant, while situating the artist as an object on view, simulataneously insists on an aesthetics of connections: between the artist and beholders, between the artists [sic] and the art institutions, and between the artist's conscious and unconscious processes.
Another important component of this work was Antoni's ability to communicate directly with the museum-goers. Antoni explains this desire to be involved in the viewer's experience when she writes:
[Performance] wasn't something that I intended to do. I was doing work that was about process, about the meaning of the making, trying to have a love-hate relationship with the object. I always feel safer if I can bring the viewer back to the making of it. I try to do that in a lot of different ways, by residue, by touch, by these processes that are basic to all of our lives... that people might relate to in terms of process... everyday activities--bathing, eating, etc. But there are times when the best way to keep people in that place, which for me is so alive and pertinent, is to show the process or the making.
Antoni is still an active member of the art world. She is married to fellow RISD alumnus Paul Ramirez Jonas and resides in New York City.