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oil on canvas
paint on newsprint over panel
My work is an investigation of ephemera and transformation of the everyday. I often use found materials that either reveal or subvert underlying formative principles. Whether I’m painting over newspapers, making installations from objects collected in the Arctic, intervening in public spaces, or inviting scientists to interact, I am driven by subtle shifts in perception and a rearrangement of form. I’m drawn to the fleeting experience that allows for impermanence, chance, unpredictability and tenuous stability. I’m looking for the possibility of revelation through simple means, a place and a moment where now dissolves into always, and always into now.
THE TIMES: THE MOMENT AT HAND
Since 2006, I have been painting over newspapers—obliterating, whiting out, and rearranging the page. Working within the existing grid system to reveal and, ultimately, undermine it, the act of painting echoes the ways in which the media selects, eliminates, and frames information. The paintings subvert and transform language, and create a new form made of line, mark, measure, and composition.
These works sustain an epiphany of bodily presence while working within parameters of pre-determined systems. The newspaper provides a constant format within which there is no possibility of prediction, allowing chance to provide the parameters. In their multilayered process of making, the paintings become a palimpsest, a place where chance and time collide.
Jessica Houston was born in 1970 in Chicago. She lives and works in New York City. She holds an MA from Columbia University. She was an invited artist aboard a Cape Farewell voyage to the Arctic, and was featured in the expedition documentary by Big Heart Media, London, UK. Recently, she presented her work at the International Polar Year Conference in Oslo, and was invited to the Tipping Point Conference, a climate change think tank, held by Columbia University. Selected exhibitions include: NJ MOCA, New Jersey (2010); I Castello di Corigliano, Corigliano, Italy (2010); Camac Center for Art, Marnay sur-Seine, France (2009); British Embassy, online debate (2009); Sragow Gallery, New York (2009); Miami Red Dot Art fair (2007); Berliner KunstProjekt, Berlin (2003). Her work explores subtle shifts in perception and rearrangement of form; her site-specific installation at New Jersey MOCA continues this interrogation, eliciting articulation of and observations on color.