Jessie Homer French, Mono Lake Dump (1999),
oil on canvas
Jessie Homer French, a Los Angeles artist, began exhibiting at a relatively late age. Since 1978, her work has been shown in a number of California galleries, installed in public places, and acquired by collections across the States.
It is difficult to fix her painting techniques since she moves between realistic and folk art approaches. With themes that focus on change and renewal, preservation and documentation, she captures a disparate range of content and styles. From Hockney-like paintings of people celebrating a traditional Jewish wedding; to much more loosely-rendered images of salmon spawning in the Cowichan River; to a more abstractly-rendered animal carcass on the highway, French moves between three or four styles.
When her content is simplified to forests, fires and skies on tiny 8"x10" canvasses, she appears to work more freely. However, her approach may be most successful when imagery is flattened, perhaps as a result of combining foreground subjects with backgrounds from other sources, and painting with less modeling and perspective.
© Mia Johnson