The Fairhurst Gallery & Framers is proud to announce the first solo exhibition of contemporary, Norwich-based, artist Jess Burgess.
The following excerpt is taken from the exhibition catalogue, featuring a text by Adele Smejkal, client liaison at Sotheby’s:
“Bread and a Girl presents a series of paintings of pastel colour images that capture female figures with a glamorous flair. Aesthetically pleasing images are arranged on canvases in a collage-like manner, each revealing either a part of the female body dressed in beautiful clothes, or a plate with an appetising looking dish.
Burgess’ work targets several areas of the contemporary woman’s life. From an art historical point of view, women have always been one of the main subjects of art, and today’s artists only confirm that this is an ongoing dialogue that will continue to inspire artists as the position of women in society and culture develops each decade.
Burgess’ work here touches on the notion of beauty culture. She positions the relationship of attractive women like models and celebrities with food and their daily activities…The artist is deeply aware of the power of social media and how the virtual world, presented through the digital screen, impacts our everyday life. However, the artist doesn’t necessarily project female suffering when it comes to food; on the contrary, she plays with the notion of ‘attractive’ desserts next to ‘attractive’ women.
Burgess’ mission, however, goes beyond our eating habits – we live in a consumerist society where we view ourselves through shop windows full of fancy garments. She thus reflects on this notion by dressing her ‘models’ in designer clothes and placing them in an interior or exterior setting, which constitutes the contemporary still life. Many situations in her paintings capture her figures in almost idealistic illusion, which is the same illusion we receive as viewers of fashion magazines and social media. What makes Burgess’ ideology refined and timeless is the fact that she never mentions labels in her work and doesn’t use real-life people. Her figures are rendered in a pictorial style that is inspired by Alex Katz.
Using her artist role models as inspiration, Burgess adopts collage and the ‘edge’ element as her underlying signature style. ‘Merge Visible’ is a photoshop feature which the artist uses for her picture editing, and transfers the inspiration into her painterly work. The ‘edge’ technique draws from an essay by Ian Monroe called ‘Where Does One Thing End and the Next One Begin,’ and contributes to the notion of layering realities, furthered in Burgess’s case by colliding pictures from social media and magazines.
‘Bread and a Girl’ is the ideal balance between visual stimulation and cultural meditation.”
Gallery Director Dulcie Humphrey states: “What draws me to Jess’ paintings is her reversal of the male gaze from the perspective of a young woman functioning in todays, highly pressured, society. Finding her voice amongst a cacophony of social media influencers and fashion predicators, Jess harnesses an intentionally ‘innocent’ yet sophisticated painting style and palette to perhaps insinuate her experience of the fashion industry’s darker repercussions.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, including a text by Amanda Geitner, Head of East Anglian Art Fund.
Bread and a Girl – from 3rd July to 14th August 2021 at the Fairhurst Gallery,
Visit the Fairhurst Gallery website.