My love of process, action and the physicality of paint are the driving forces of my work and the natural world is my major source for inspiration. I think about animals, human beings, and plant life and I attempt to create a world in which a single object, my painting, can define all three simultaneously. In this imaginative space, I depict scenes that could take place in a rainforest, in a pond, in a laboratory, or inside the human body. I aim specifically to create imagery that has the potential for that slippage.

Feelings of reverence for nature as well as a distinct fear of its power mingle in my mind, and thus appear in my work. We are a part of the natural world and as such, we are vulnerable to this power. For me, it is both exciting and terrifying to know that something so small that it cannot be discerned with the naked eye (a virus, a cancer cell, a bacterium, a parasite) can destroy us. The way in which nature can be profoundly beautiful, startlingly unpredictable, and indiscriminately violent moves me and inspires my work.

Growth is a theme that appears again and again in my work. It is an enigmatic, rich concept because it can be beautiful, positive and right as well as destructive, grotesque and invasive. Flowers, crops, infants. Tumors, cysts, infections. The paintings themselves grow in layers and I begin each piece without a preconceived notion of resolution. I lay down a simple color field and then the paintings seem to take over and direct their own evolution. Making these paintings is a process of concealing and revealing. It is also somewhat of a catharsis for me; addressing my anxieties in my work somehow allows them to weigh less heavily.

I make this artwork to express my wonder as well as to ease my fears.

Jessica L Kennedy