by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Jessica Hess often tells people she paints landscapes, but “landscape” doesn’t quite sum up the documentary function of her work. Her oil paintings are not about the buildings and the trees, but rather an ephemeral, fragile moment: when graffiti gets put up on city walls. The future of a piece of graffiti is unstable — it could be buffed or tagged the next day. Its longevity is unpredictable. Hess memorializes these ephemeral artistic expressions, choosing broken-down, tagged-up locales that inspire her in her daily surroundings in Oakland and San Francisco. Curator Ken Harman shared a story about how a group of people were moved by Hess’s work when they saw the tag of their deceased friend in one of her paintings — an insignia that had heretofore been eradicated from the walls on which it was painted. His presence lives on in her work.