Dancing With Graffiti
With the label of contemporary impressionist, you may be forgiven for seeing Jessica Zoob’s work as work inspired from the likes of Monet, Turner and other landscape greats of art history. But In fact, the very beauty of an inspiration is that it is unpredictable and unintentional, often arising out of something surprising and completely random.
For Jessica Zoob, whose latest oil and glaze landscape paintings are displayed at a new Loughran Gallery space in Battersea, inspiration is drawn from all around. One particularly surprising influence, however, is graffiti. She confesses readily to being obsessed with the likes of Banksy and Blek le Rat, and walking around Dancing With Colour it is possible to see links between the two.
The most prominent pieces in the room are the Reckless triptych, a trio of blazing oils which bleed into one another on the canvas like petrol in water. Jessica has titled these three pieces after their method of creation: instantaneous, momentary and reckless. The process was one of reacting to the colour and materials as they were applied to the canvas with no turning back, much how a graffiti artist applies his spray paint to brick, knowing its effect is permanent.
Reckless also feature rapid moments of Jessica’s recognisable motifs. Hues of burgundy and green remind us of her lilies, which feature in her most sought after works, whilst shadows of sky blue echo the lilies’ form and shape. Modern graffiti started off with the tags and bombs of the artist, who wanted is name to become synonymous with his area; it is fun to think of the lilies as Jessica’s tag, the symbol by which people immediately recognise her, and the element which is crucial in graffiti.
Walking around the light-filled room, other works also betray Jessica’s love of graffiti. Passion 5 drips from its saturation of violent pink oil, as does the matt white in Dancing With Colour on its wall of deep blue. More traditionally, graffiti comes from the word meaning ‘to write’ in Italian, taken from where people etched drawings into the bricks walls of Rome or Pompeii. Scraping, carving, etching, all are common of Jessica’s technique, as seen most evidently in her more careful and deliberate pieces such as The One and Dancing With Angels.
First impressions on walking into Dancing With Colour are indeed explosions of colour and echoes of subtle yet confident landscapes. But if you think more abstract and follow the leads placed by the oils, you might start to appreciate these glorious pieces in a different, more urban light.