Jonas has worked in video and performance for more than thirty years, integrating the two art forms in unexpected ways. With this recent work she continues her exploration of the dual art form but on a radically altered scale, undertaking what she has described as "a new effort to create performances in miniature."
My New Theater 1 is a tabletop installation in the form of a box that slopes upward from front to back. Open on one end, this "theater" allows several viewers to observe a video projected onto a screen filling the far wall. The sparse props of the maquette—miniature fishing pole, owl, rabbit, chaise longue—are reminiscent of the stage design of a typical Jonas performance. The video presents a Cape Breton step dancer performing to the accompaniment of a fiddler and a piano player, intercut with a young girl dancing in a more elaborate style. The Scottish music radiates over the lush green of summertime, contrasting sharply with the murky theater setting. The scale evokes the miniature cityscapes and elongated figures by Alberto Giacometti, whose work has influenced Jonas, and the spirit recalls the New York avant–garde theater companies The Wooster Group, with whom the artist has frequently collaborated, and Mabou Mines.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 351.