January 20—February 28, 2021
if time - could be seen - how would it look - it looks at us - slow or fast or stopped and backwards - it loops in the mind - but still: - one foot in front of the other - it passes
“The show is titled With, to enter the being-with we have with time, each other, and the spaces that surround us. The four paintings focus on different times of day and stages of illumination, following transitions between states of light and states of being to mark time and change. Traversing the pre-dawn, morning, afternoon, and early evening, the paintings linger in topographies of shifting tactility and atmosphere. The rectangular forms in each painting come from windows in my life that I’ve spent extended time with, yet become abstract through how they hold the passing of thought, sensation, and reflection. Sediments of minutes, hours, days, years, decades unfold to move through how presence can be found in absence, the density of loss, and the contours of rupture that define us.
These works also consider:
The labor and process of paying attention; accepting slowness; settling into silence; the generative time of care; registering small actions that go unseen; spaces where quiet resides; the black of the pre-dawn window pane; the deep blue that follows; the effort to break into expansion; the hardness of the windowsill; the softness of touching the present; the atmosphere of the unknown; light moving across a window screen; light that holds its shadow; getting underneath the skin of vision; carving out solitude; solitudes’ tether to others; the stability of symmetry; the strength of vulnerability; destruction that leads to new ground; the possible; intimacy of shared memory; being held together by proximity; the relentlessness of dust; the memory of daylight as dusk appears; shadow that holds its light; color that moves thought; thought that moves color; a coming near; an opening, a breaking; a re-forming; remembering a center; a digging in; repetitive daily tasks that create grounding; repetitive acts of digging that open; what windows offer; what paintings can offer; making paintings as a being-with; looking at paintings as being-with; engaging with paintings in proximity with eyes in a body in space; being-with each other with eyes in bodies in spaces.” —Jessica Dickinson, January 2021
James Fuentes is pleased to present Jessica Dickinson's, With, the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. Four new paintings are presented that have been worked on together over the past year and a half.
Focusing on the sensations of time, light, and matter within shifting philosophical, perceptual, and psychological states, Dickinson is interested in how the feeling of time passing can be at once physical, emotional, linguistic, and ephemeral. And, through this, how painting proposes an important site of encounter within our contemporary environment of increasingly disembodied exchanges.
Inspired by frescoes altered through chance and erosion, Dickinson works with oil on a plaster-like surface. Making only four paintings a year, the works are created concurrently and gradually. Stages of repetitive marking and notching, aggressive chiseling, sudden removal, invisible labor, illumination, and aggregated layering become inscribed in the body of the painting. Influenced by feminist thought to dislocate hierarchical terms of the sublime, the sources of abstraction are derived from momentary events in everyday life that interrupt and shift consciousness. Shapes of light, shadow, concrete, patterns, windows, and doorways become veils, obstructions, thresholds, or openings, materializing and monumentalizing the otherwise minor. Invested in the overlooked, Dickinson’s work honors shifts in how what we “see”—internally and out- wardly—unfolds and transforms through duration.
Dickinson continues to make remainders for each painting: large-scale graphite rubbings made of the painting’s entire surface after each stage in their process, registering and extending their temporal narrative. Reproductions of the remainders for these paintings will be available to view at the gallery desk.
Jessica Dickinson (b.1975) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has presented solo exhibitions at venues including James Fuentes, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis; and Maisterravalbuena, Madrid. Group exhibitions include “New Ruins,” American University Art Museum, Washington D.C.; “See Sun and Think Shadow,” Gladstone Gallery, New York; “Room by Room: Monographic Presentations from The Faulconer and Rachofsky Collections,” The Warehouse, Dallas; “Come Through,” Sikkema Jenkins, New York; and “Besides, With, Against, and Yet: Abstraction and The Ready Made Gesture,” The Kitchen, New York. Works by Dickinson are held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Rachofsky House, Dallas. Last summer James Fuentes presented from, an online exhibition of Dickinson’s notebook drawings made during New York City’s stay-at-home orders.