Rather than elegance or grandeur, my focus lies in structure, simplicity, and decay. In practice I work with photographs, which serve as both a reference and a starting point. My work develops from an accumulation of images and impressions of urban, industrial, and abandoned architecture. Some paintings are made with fidelity to the original source, while others are reinvented, compiled, and manipulated. Over time the works become subconscious collages of material and combinations of locations from years of collecting images and observations.
I am attracted primarily to utilitarian buildings where engineering takes precedence over aesthetics. Many of my subjects are vacant or disused, and beautiful in these states of neglect. Although the paintings are devoid of human life, the structures and sites I work with bear witness to a human presence and the dynamic natureof the urban environment. Their surfaces reflect the visual call and response of graffiti, as well as the slower processes of weathering and deterioration.
My inclusion of street art documents and makes permanent these otherwise transitory public works. By painting graffiti laden sites I am participating in an anonymous collaboration with other artists andgiving a quiet nod of appreciation to street art. All street art evidences creative traffic and the time invested by others on my lonely subjects, adding color and excitement to otherwise dull locations. In reworking and transforming these locations my paintings further this collaboration of time, structure, and surface.
Jessica Hess is a hyperreal painter who travels often to explore the urban landscape and seek out new subject matter. She received a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 and has been pursuing a fine art career ever since. Hess has exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently represented by Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco and Plastic Murs in Valencia, Spain. Hess grew up in North Carolina, and also lived for years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island before heading west to California in 2009. She and her better half now own a creative commercial space in Oakland that houses her art studio in a former barber shop.