• Much of Jess Allen's new work explores the theme of 'Presence through Absence'. Subjects such as empty chairs and sofas, books left behind by an absent reader, and empty theatres and cinemas, suggesting the past presence of a person or people. Their human absence asking the question of who were they, and where are they now, and why have they gone ? 


    Art Edit magazine recently writes  

    Composing pared-back interior scenes featuring tableaus of silhouettes and shadow, the artist  ( Allen ) seeks to capture a moment in time without resorting to a conspicuous or distinct narrative. Natural light falls from above onto familiar domestic scenes, where closely cropped views of couches and stacks of books are overlaid with shadow figures – indeterminate and unnamed portraits that stand just out of view. 

    Allen does not name these figures, instead hoping that the audience can impute their own experiences and desires on their indistinct forms. By using the interplay of light and shade, the artist elevates her subjects to an archetype or allegory, to be understood by her audience using their personal experiences. 

    Her true subject then is not any one person, but time itself, defined by the angle of the sun and the tilt of the earth’s axis. It is defined by omission, the length and distortion of shadows defining a particular instant which the artist has carefully and attentively recorded using her striking, muted style. 

    Allen’s paintings are quietly compelling, their composition making them feel intimate. By placing light and shade at the centre of her practice, and elevating the consideration of shadows to become the fundamental element of her works, Allen has beautifully personalised the universal experience of time.


    Jess  is currently building an international reputation with works in Collections in the US, Japan, Europe, Switzerland, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, UAE, and Bahrain. She has also exhibited in the US, Sweden, and Japan, with forthcoming exhibitions in New York, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.



     She lives in Cornwall with her husband Sculptor Simon Allen.