Jessica Dickinson

(Born 1975, St. Paul, MN; Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY)

Abstraction interested me because it seems the best way to represent how life is really experienced and what was real to me was abstraction, for me abstraction comes from living, from experience and not necessarily a thing you can quote from art history.

Two artists have been important to me, Agnes Martin and Anne Truitt. Both really work with the mind and the body and how we feel through seeing. To them art is a form of thinking and the connection between the mind and the body in the hand in the making.

I’ve always been a drawer but figuring out my drawing practice was really integral for me developing my painting. In some ways they are like the backbone of my work because they’re my keys to what I’m doing.

Slow Art is something I’m pretty committed to. I want to make something that really slows people down. They think it’s one thing at first and maybe it’s a different thing and they have to think differently about what they’re looking at. Things aren’t as they seem.

We’re living in such an image saturated world now. We often look at things too quickly and think we know what we’re looking at right away.

I think of a painting or these drawings as objects in space, not giving you everything you want right away is important and in the end gives you more.

For an emerging artist it is about really letting yourself get into the thing you’re into and not think it should be another way because that’s the way it should be done. Having a strong sense of self and self direction is super important. The whole point of artists and art to me is that you don’t fit in. Your work has to find its own voice and alongside that it’s really important to be open to community and reach out to your peers because we learn from each other.

— Conversation on May 16, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:

Dickinson, Jessica, Trace (Un-Know), 2014, Conte, graphite and pastel on paper, Frame: 46 x 39 in.