Jessica Dickinson

May 2—June 8, 2024

Opening reception: Friday, May 3, 6-8pm

James Fuentes is pleased to present And, an exhibition of five new works by Jessica Dickinson at the gallery’s location in Tribeca, New York. The exhibition is accompanied by a new gallery publication, charting the artist’s approach to abstraction through her distinctly experimental yet structured studio practice. And marks the artist’s sixth exhibition with the gallery.

Created together over the last year and a half, Dickinson’s new paintings, And-Hold, And/With, And: Now, And-Knows, and And: Is can be understood as material palimpsests. Each is distinct in its particular expanding light and atmosphere, grounded in a surface that reveals more through time and attention. Deeply invested in abstraction as a way to understand change through duration, Dickinson layers the paintings through countering events to forge something solid and present. Working with oil paint on a plaster-like ground, which can be incised into, carved out, and rebuilt—and which carries with it a specific capacity to hold light—they are unified by a ritual process of creating correlating remainders: graphite rubbings made to record their changing terrain. By the time of their completion, each painting is accompanied by approximately 12-20 remainders, which together comprise the final work.

Originating via reflections and observations in daily life through her Notebook Drawings and instinctive prose, Dickinson’s visual and written impressions are gathered into sequences to guide the gradual evolution of each new painting. There, the momentary becomes embedded in each material layer as the work moves through stages of application, excavation, and renewal—iterative actions shifting across a restrained palette and tactile plane that compel seeing in new ways. As Faye Hirsch writes in the publication, “The finished painting contains a kind of ‘inner immensity’ […] and although we know its making has taken place over a period of months, the implication is that an eternity lies within the ‘now’ of the work. For in imagining the time that has produced the painting, and that the painting now contains, we lose a sense of its boundaries and the specifics that constituted it.” 

Compared to the density of the paintings, their associated remainders are akin to moving shadows. When in dialogue, these panel and paper works preserve and traverse time by visualizing its physical and poetic properties. Over the course of the exhibition, all five sets of remainders will be displayed horizontally on a low central platform; stacked on the right and periodically leafed to the left so that, upon any given visitation, two remainders can be observed as if in an open book—moving in sequence until all remainders have been shown. Dickinson’s works, in all of their forms, are sites of time gathered into substance, offering space for a slowed down encounter within our world of increasingly accelerated and disembodied exchanges.

shifting light / moves thought / silence is found / and then lost / surfaces hold us / here / in solid impermanence / window / blanket / floor / ceiling / wall // matter presses forward / into radiance / held suspended / as the structures / lose their names / and offer / solace // the breathing of living / moving through continual / nights / and days / hands out / and in / always finding / again / and again 

And - a joining word. A word used to connect. A word that infers parts add up and exist together, to create a larger whole. That “nothing is simply one thing.” ¹ That something continues, or persists, or insists, even when we think it has come to a conclusion, or we figured out the definition. A refusal of singularity. That time keeps moving, while loss illuminates now. “The impersonal jewel of the moment.” ²

—Jessica Dickinson

Jessica Dickinson was born in 1975 in Saint Paul, Minnesota and has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York since 1999. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1999 and BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 1997. Dickinson has presented solo exhibitions at James Fuentes, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis; and Maisterravalbuena, Madrid. Her work has been presented in important group exhibitions surveying abstraction including Sensory Poetics: Collecting Abstraction at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2022) and Besides, With, Against, and Yet: Abstraction and The Ready Made Gesture at The Kitchen, New York (2009–2010). In 2015, the first monograph on Dickinson's work, titled Under|Press.|With-This|Hold-|Of-Also|Of/How|Of- More|Of:Know, was published by Inventory Press, New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas.

¹ Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, originally published 1927.
² Clarice Lispector, Água Viva, originally published 1973.