In to the woods
Trained at Glasgow School of Art
Primarily works in acrylic and gouache, her work is figurative whilst exploring colour and pattern.
Jess’s work explores imaginary narratives; the stories within her paintings mix memory and real events with fictional characters and places.
She creates other places, a mixture of the magical and the real. Spaces in between, where we find the promise of something else, the potential for change, an escape, a new existence with the possibility of alternative narratives. The landscapes are often inhabited by strong women, protectors and builders, themselves often protected by wild cats that represent their inner strength. There is often a suggestion of darkness, a looming threat to these new worlds, there is always light and dark in life but Jess's paintings are coloured with hope.
Jess’s portraits of women are also a combination of real people and imaginary characters, often looking out at us from dark backgrounds, once lost now searching for new narratives, embracing the history of painting whilst re-claiming a 'female space' within art.
"I am not afraid to use colour and pattern and often employ an abundance of both, we tend to associate colour with a childlike lack of sophistication especially in Western culture where we are encouraged to employ restraint in order to show maturity and sophistication, the suggestion that children and less advanced cultures indulge in frivolous colour and pattern was made by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1810 and according to Ingrid Fetell Lee's brilliant book 'Joyful' this attitude and the attending shame or fear of looking foolish from an over indulgence in colour permeates to this day, but I have no interest in a muted world however sophisticated it thinks it is. I am also happy to embrace the naive in my work, inspired by folk and outsider art as well as the art of children to regain an insight that is often eroded as we enter the adult world."