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jessamynplotts@gmail.com

Exhibition opening August 24 2020 at TXST Fl3x Space



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Cat's Cradle is a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Jessamyn Plotts opening August 24, 2020 at TXST Flex Space. The show examines themes of space and the body in the artist's recent work, which, like the cat's cradle game, rely both on a series of figures and the space or cradle of inhabited rooms. The exhibition organizes these paintings by the relationship of their content to the body and space, understanding this dynamic as a complex game navigated by both artist and viewer. A series of discussions held by the artist during the course of the exhibition will cover issues of race, gender, and the body as essential to the experience of these images, and, the artist argues, for all images.

The exhibition features two bodies of work made between 2012 and 2019.

The first is a series of portaits of the memoirist, beauty editor, and drug addict Cat Marnell who gained notoriety in the late 2010s for her work at Vice and XOJane. Marnell exemplifies what Plotts views as a self-consuming whiteness...a withering that begins from within the individual which manifests as self harm. Eating disorders and drug use obliterate and violate the image of a body Marnell paints through her writings. This act of whiteness--a body that eats itself, destroys itself--doesn't make cultural whiteness any less powerful. On the contrary, the act of self consumption proliferates images which last long after the body of the maker has ceased to exist. Participating white bodies consume themselves as fuel for a system which endlessly processes and disseminates images of cultural whiteness. Plotts paints Marnell with this in mind, asking if there is a mode of representation that could disrupt this proliferation. Specifically, Plott's asks if painting effectively dismantles the historical tendency of image-making to uphold norms of the power structure. Does performance work offer a better set of tools for undermining tropes of white femininity in art?

The second is a set of paintings made in 2018 and 2019 that assert the physicality of the individual body in the painting process. In these works, Plotts painted only what she observed, reifying the minute by minute function of the artist's gaze, sense of touch, and location in space. This set of limitations resulted in paintings that include three primary locations: the artist's studio, the artist's apartment, and a Victoria's Secret location at Northpark Mall in Dallas TX. Plott's painted the entrance to this VS location a few times a week for 5 months in 2019. This the artist viewed as a performative act of painting in which typical roles in a mall setting were reversed. Consumer becomes producer as the artist produces a painting in commercial space rather than purchasing goods. Surveillance roles are also reversed in this act; the artist surveills storefronts with her gaze rather than passively moving through the space observed by cameras and mall security.

One body of work features spaces. The other features bodies. Both rely on painted images to produce meaning. Throughout the course of Cat's Cradle, Plotts hopes to discuss the dynamic exchange that takes place between image, space, and the body. The body of the artist, the body of the viewer, and the bodies featured as content in the work all serve as points of refernce for physical and cultural positionality.