RAIR | 2013-14
Jessica Kirkpatrick | Edinburgh, UK
Jessica Kirkpatrick was born in San Francisco in 1980. She studied painting at University of Colorado at Boulder and the School of Visual Arts. In 2010 she completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and continued to exhibit in Edinburgh and London. In 2011 she won the Abbey Award Fellowship in Painting at the British School at Rome. In 2012 she won the Open Eye Gallery prize and the Leith School of Art prize at the Visual Arts Scotland annual exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy.
My paintings employ a figure/ground compositional strategy as a metaphor for the paradigmatic pattern of binary opposition: internal/external, nature/culture, reality/illusion, image/material, feminine/masculine, flat/ dimensional are primary motifs in my work. In my pictures, I manipulate the body’s position in space to explore the dynamic between place and identity. My paintings often reflect the decentered, placeless zones of suburbia or urban peripheral as a function of a dislocated identity or collective fantasy. I construct narrative clashes, where the protagonist participates in the pictorial space of the painting surface, residing in the logic of an allegorical perspective.
Utilizing methods of digital collage — super- imposition, manipulation of scale, juxtaposition of style, and the use of realist painting technique — I highlight the image for what it is, an illusion. The language of photography, video and virtual space feed directly into my work. The conversation between painting and photography is fundamental to my process; I pursue the creation of images using other images in their ongoing mediation of reality.
I paint figures as photographs of figures, figures in motion, or parts of figures perhaps to question the sense of “I” that we experience as rooted in the body. But the body becomes the Nude in its transmutation into art. Viewing the role of power in the act of looking. I explore the history of the Female Nude as born of patriarchy, embodying nature and beckoning desire, but in my effort to reclaim the Female Nude, I always end up contradicting myself in face of the impossibility of an authentic representation of femininity.
Art history is available for the contemporary painter to play with, critique, and learn from. I appropriate out of art history to collapse the past into present and to cite my sources. I am more recently focusing on archetypes of femininity as cultural patterns evolving over time, The Beauty Queen, Mother, Goddess, Whore, or Housewife are grafted onto the body; forces which act on the feminine mystique.