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Theodora Varnay Jones, Penny Olson & Rosa Anna DeFilippis

Test Negative, 2012

I.   Novartis-2  II.  Novartis-3  III. Novartis +UCSF

“… all these layers of meaning and form, of visibility and invisibility lie in one another, on or under one another, before or behind one another; but the truth of this relation is never established, never stabilized in any judgment. “

Jacques Derrida- Psyche Inventions of the Other Vol 2


The interrelated pieces of the installation are structures constructed of discarded objects from the research laboratories of Novartis, images of these individual objects and their sections, and images from breast cancer research conducted at UCSF.

Each piece draws on one of its elements as the resource for the others.

In a row, successive translucent and opaque objects are stacked on top of each other creating layers through which the video images radiate from the bottom.

The tension created this way is between the layers, between clarity and obscurity, between object (material) and image (optical appearance). While the objects provide a solid, static structure the images are pulsating, changing and moving forward.

Neither the objects nor images have been altered or manipulated from their original states, but rather, systematically and deliberately combined into a new whole.


The video portion of the piece can be seen online at


Special thanks to UCSF


Theodora Varnay Jones received an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. She moved to the US in 1972 where she is based in San Francisco.

Her experiments with various disciplines, media and techniques entail the investigation of space from the early works of textured surfaces through layered translucent structures to containers of shadows, reflections and uninhibited cavities.

Her quiet works echo the artist’s reverence for process and material while evoking an open-ended range of concepts from perception to relativity, transparency and time.

Varnay Jones has been honored with awards and grants from the California Art Council, the Art Matters Inc. NY, the Jerome Foundation Berkeley CA and the Barbara and Henry Miller Foundation MA. She has been finalist for SF Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award and artist in residence at the Kyoto Seika University in Japan, The Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA and the ICA in San Jose, CA.


She has recently exhibited at SOMArts Cultural Center, Don Soker Gallery and Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco, ICA in San Jose and Gallery B55 in Budapest.

She is recipient of Kala Art Institute’s Honorary Fellowship 2012


Penny Olson Bio

Penny Olson is a visual artist who works primarily with digital information to create still and moving images.  She received a BFA from CCA and an MFA from UCLA. She taught in the Design/Media Arts Department at UCLA for many years before returning to the Bay Area.


She is currently represented by Chandra Cerrito Contemporary in Oakland, and JayJay in Sacramento. Recent projects include a commission for Neiman Marcus and a series of large-scale public art works for Kaiser Permanente. Images and information can be found online via the following links:


Reviews of her work can be found at the following links

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