" Painting for me is a meditation. It is the mindful activity of looking. My paintings are observations and contemplations of simple forms, light and space. I hope to convey a sense of stillness and presence. "
Jess Allen is an artist, who lives and works 'off the beaten track.' She has exhibited rarely, and her solitude from the art world, is apparent in the images she makes.
In her Cornish studio, in an old barn on the edge of the moorland, Jess Allen paints simple ordinary objects, such as boxes, books and paper bags. Her many still lives of these items, have become increasingly paired down, quiet and understated. Working in the silence of looking, and responding to the seen, her still life paintings, suggest a slowing down of time. She has been seeking to create as minimalist an image as possible, to encourage the viewer to enjoy the power of appreciating the unnoticed and the understated.
As well as being about the the simplicity of her subjects, and about arrangements of these objects, Jess's paintings are equally about the spaces between, and around them. Echoing the Japanese aesthetic 'Ma', which literally means 'gap', 'space' or 'pause', and which, in Japanese art, specifically refers to the artistic interpretation of an empty space, her paintings are about, not just the objects, or their relationship to each other, but also the relationship of the objects, to their surrounding space. These works have become about a communication of simplicity and space.
Last year Jess started to make landscape paintings. in relation to her still lives, her choice of subject, reflect her interest in the importance of appreciating the unspectacular, the ordinary view. A simple field, an old ruin on the moorland, the view from her studio window, or the road seen through the windscreen of her car. She is finding that in this new genre the space has become so much bigger.
Inspired by painters Morandi, Avigdor Arikha and William Nicholson, she is also inspired by the abstraction of Sean Scully, by Agnes Martin, and by Minimalism, which like 'Ma' could be seen as 'an emptiness full of possibilities '.
Jess Allen was born in 1966 in Dorset, in the United Kingdom. She spent most of her childhood in London, and studied Foundation at Camberwell College of Arts. After gaining a BA Honours in Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, she remained living in Cornwall. She has shown work at Newlyn Art Gallery, and at the Mall Galleries in London, as well as at the Affordable Art Fair. She is married with two grown up daughters, and has been a Partner in two businesses, previously Arthouse Frames, and currently Simon Allen Sculptor.