The Beauty of Simplicity: Exploring the Still Life Paintings of Jess Allen

By Carla DLM

Jess Allen is an artist who truly captures the beauty of simplicity in her work. Her still life paintings depict ordinary objects such as boxes, books, and paper bags, and through her careful observation and contemplation of these objects, she manages to convey a sense of stillness and presence. Born in Dorset in 1966, Allen spent most of her childhood in London before studying Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art. She now lives and works in Cornwall, and her solitude from the art world is apparent in her images, which have been exhibited rarely but have gained a loyal following among art enthusiasts.

Allen's paintings are a meditation on the act of looking, and in her studio, she works in silence, responding to what she sees before her. Her still lives have become increasingly pared down and understated, and she seeks to create minimalist images that encourage the viewer to appreciate the power of the unnoticed and the understated. Her paintings are not just about the objects themselves, but also the spaces around and between them. In this sense, her work is influenced by the Japanese aesthetic of "Ma", which refers to the artistic interpretation of empty space. This idea of "Ma" is evident in Allen's work, as she seeks to capture the relationship between objects and their surrounding space. Her paintings are a communication of simplicity and space, and they encourage the viewer to slow down and appreciate the beauty of stillness.

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Through her work, Allen reminds us of the importance of slowing down and paying attention to the world around us. In our fast-paced modern world, it is all too easy to overlook the beauty of the ordinary and the understated. Allen's paintings encourage us to take a moment to pause, to appreciate the stillness and presence of simple objects, and to find beauty in the spaces between things. In an interview, Allen said, "Painting for me is a meditation. It is the mindful activity of looking." This mindfulness is evident in her work, as each painting is a testament to her dedication to the act of looking and seeing. By creating images that are quiet, contemplative, and understated, Allen reminds us of the power of simplicity and encourages us to find stillness and presence in our own lives.

One of Allen's recent achievements was being awarded the prestigious Parker Harris Prize at the Discerning Eye Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in 2021.Despite her success, Allen remains humble and dedicated to her craft, constantly seeking to refine her technique and deepen her understanding of the power of simplicity.

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Allen's upcoming exhibition in New York at the Scroll Gallery in April through May 2023 is highly anticipated. The exhibition promises to showcase a selection of her recent still life paintings and provide an opportunity for art lovers in New York to experience the beauty of Allen's work firsthand. The Scroll Gallery, located in the heart of New York's vibrant art scene, is known for its commitment to showcasing emerging and established artists whose work speaks to the power of simplicity and stillness.

Jess Allen is an artist who is not afraid to take risks and challenge herself creatively. Her dedication to her craft, her commitment to simplicity and stillness, and her willingness to experiment with new techniques and ideas make her a truly unique and inspiring figure in the world of contemporary art. As her forthcoming exhibition in New York approaches, art lovers around the world are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to experience the beauty of her work firsthand. Jess Allen is an artist to watch, and her influence on the world of contemporary art is sure to continue to grow and inspire many for years to come.

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Photographize granted permission to feature photos by Jess Allen


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