Jessica Allen studied her Foundation at Camberwell, London,
and her degree at Falmouth School of Arts. She currently lives in Cornwall,
near Penzance with her husband the sculptor Simon Allen, with whom she has two
daughters, Isolde and Imogen.
Jessica has had solo exhibitions at The Badcocks Gallery in Newlyn, and at the London College of Fashion. She has also shown work at Goldfish Gallery in Penzance, Millennium Gallery in St Ives, and The Summerhouse Gallery in Marazion, as well as Galerie Pelar on Long Island. Prizes include a Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers Award, and second prize in The Six Counties Prize. Her work has also been pubished as cards by Artist's Cards, The Art Group, and ArtCardsCornwall.
In my still life paintings I am hoping to capture the simple moments of looking. Through the act of painting I find myself in quiet concentration, appreciating the subject. Choosing objects of everyday life, I find beauty in the ordinary. These works are both the outcome and the process of slowing down.
There is an elevation of the everyday nature of things in the still life paintings of Jessica Allen. These paintings contain everyday objects, which are portrayed on a neutral spatial plane. This is a space that holds the object, and holds our attention, a space where the presence of the physical object and the presence of light have equal value. It is a space where shadows are important. Time and place, the here and now, are constantly re asserted. Cooking utensils, bags and boxes of various shapes and sizes, crumpled paper, fruit and vegetables, the stuff of domestic life, are all experienced through an uncompromising vision. There is a worn purity to these images. Sometimes bags and boxes spill their contents across the table surface, in other images the contents are hidden from view. Relationships between interior and exterior are explored. Objects often sit in the middle of the composition, displacing the space around them, creating semi-abstract passages of tone and form. There is the potential for allusion and metaphor in reading these images on 'another level ‘, pieces of crumpled paper could suggest the fragility of life. But such interpretations never really assert themselves, instead there is a refreshing commitment to the image, a repeated conviction and humility that " this is what I see, and this is how I see it ".
Jessica’s paintings are direct and grounded. The paint surface is subtly layered with each return to the subject, the finished image an accumulation of observation and reaction. As the voices of the contemporary art world become increasingly tangled and impenetrable, I think we should remember the words of Cezanne.
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
Simon Allen 2017