Jess' current work wonderfully embraces and wrestles with one of the most common materials used in painting: the canvas. She delves into this historic fabric, meticulously tearing it apart with a gentle hand, freeing it from its usual two dimensional form and allowing it to arrive, anew, three dimensionally. Many things come to mind when looking at the "marks" she has left; they might create a downward swooping gesture (as though the piece is taking in an exuberant breath), or form a pendulous open-mouthed grin, or mimic torn skin where letters are spelled out from the scarring left behind. While I was there Jess was sitting in front of her couch methodically pulling away thread after thread from the center of a small sheet of canvas. This is just one of the many steps she takes in arriving at her works. Before she begins this part of the process Jess adds pigment to the material, canvases might be fully coated (as in the large black piece that hung ominously in room behind us), or hit with hints of color, as a wink to the minimalist gesture. Jess then puts it through a wash at the local laundromat to further frey the edges and distress the color.
Photo I took at the group show TEXT/IMAGE at SOUTHFIRST