How much of the world around us is natural, and how much is manufactured? What is propaganda, and what is true? How do we experience reality without losing our minds in a post-truth culture?

My recent paintings are driven by contradiction: Fighter jets intrude upon pastoral landscapes; industrial elements loom over plants, birds, and animals from around the world; missiles appear to crash unharmed into the earth, or to emerge sprout-like from underground. Representational images compete with abstract passages of messy paint, and flat areas of colour are interrupted by illusions of deep space. Which contradictory treatment of paint, space, and material is more “real?” 

The art of painting holds a special ability and responsibility to encourage focused, careful observation. Layers of meaning can only be discovered over time. In my work, trompe l’oeil depictions of painter’s tape appear to stick haphazardly to the surfaces, occupying a completely different reality from the rest of the painting. Compositionally, the tape serves as an abstract element of line, balancing and dividing the canvas. Philosophically, it reminds us to be attentive and look closely, in art as in life. While my paintings let slip a general uneasiness about war, climate change, political and personal disarray, these anxieties are balanced by the visual world.  Beauty, in all its peculiar specificity, wins.


Jessica Plattner,  January 2018

War Planes, Tape, and the Waxwing's Shadow: New Work (2017 - current)

​All work is oil on canvas unless otherwise listed. Scroll down below images for artist statement.