Contributed by Sharon Butler / In Jessica Weiss‘s ruggedly handsome paintings, strange, puppet-like figures emerge and recede from floral wallpaper patterns that are vigorously screen-printed on large-scale canvases. For Weiss, the crowning virtue of these patterns is their aesthetic versatility: they are both abstract and gestural, and also refer to matters beyond the canvas. “Wallpaper, literally a piece of cultural fabric,” Weiss says, “has become a major source of both content and formal concerns in my paintings.”
She began using the patterns over twenty years ago as a way of introducing ideas about domesticity into her work, but soon expanded them into a unique painterly language. “With collage, paint, and a variety of printing methods, I apply patterns as one might use a brush stroke,” Weiss says. “In an abstract construct a narrative seed is planted with these ready-made designs, ripe with suggestion and association.”
Her new figurative work incorporates insights she has arrived at through meditation, which she recently began practicing. She has come to understand how our inner and outer geographies are intertwined. “In many ways,” she says, “this is what wallpaper was originally intended to do.”
Weiss has had solo exhibitions at A. M. Richard Fine Art (Brooklyn) and Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery (New York City), and has had work included in numerous group exhibitions including “Two Friends and So On” at Andrew Kreps, “Seaworthy” at Edward Thorpe, “Three Degrees of Separation” at Sonnabend Gallery, and “The Stroke” (selected by Elizabeth Murray) at Exit Art. She recently had a print in Jason Andrew’s curatorial blockbuster, “Arshile Gorky and a selection of contemporary drawings,” at Outlet Fine Art in Bushwick.
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