Jessica Dunne

January 11, 2016 - May 04, 2016
Commonweal Gallery, Bolinas

 ~Artist reception January 23, 3 pm – 5 pm~


I grew up in an isolated area near Los Angeles. As a child, nighttime thrilled me and I would scan the horizon at all hours. I could only see a few lights but I always found those distant flickers comforting and tantalizing. The lights evoked stories in my mind.

In my current home in the Sunset District of San Francisco I’m now surrounded by lights at night—streetlights, house windows, cell phones in parked cars, traffic signals, and container ships on the Pacific. Those lights and glows are a constant in my paintings and prints.

Some of the scenes in my compositions might seem desolate—tunnels with few cars, freeway overpasses, streets that dead end at the water. My challenge is to bring to these impersonal places a personal eye. I want the atmospheric qualities of the paintings to reveal the exact season, time of day or night, and era of a particular place. I am entranced by the ways that weather and light transform the everyday; even a manhole cover illumined by the setting sun comes alive.

I am equally a painter and a printmaker, often tackling projects in both media simultaneously. Along with my large-scale paintings, I make black and white spit-bite aquatints and, for the last twenty years, have been refining a technique for many-layered color monotypes that is my own. Both techniques allow me to rework and revise, to build up areas of shadow with marks and washes and yet leave parts where the luminosity of the paper or canvas glows through, thus creating my night-lights.

Red Car. Oil on polyester, 2015, 52 x 60 approx.

Red Car. Oil on polyester, 2015, 52 x 60 approx