Jess

Looking Past Seeing Through

January 16 – February 22, 2014

Ex. 1-Laying a Standard, Translation #1
1959
oil on canvas
23 1/2 x 15 inches

Study for Narkissos IV
n.d.
graphite on paper
13 x 18 1/8 inches

Study for Narkissos II
n.d.
graphite on paper
24 x 16 3/4 inches

Hyakinthos-Apollon
1962
oil on canvas
57 x 30 inches

On Corbett's Dismissal
1951
oil on canvas
41 x 33 inches

Subsidence
1952
oil on canvas
40 x 46 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 1 (Sentences of an inaudible bell)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 2 (into the troubled childish day)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 3 (They were there for they are here)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 4 (the ayre of the music carries)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 5 (To open Night's eye that sleeps in what we knkow by Day)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 6 (Once more, remembering, you build the shrine to Ameinias)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Emblems for Robert Duncan II, 7 (Do you know the old language)
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches

Illustration for Caesar's Gate
1955
collage
6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches

Untitled (Cars on Rooftop)
illustration for Caesar's Gate (Moving in your sights)
1955
collage
8 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches

Hawthorne Herons
1955
oil on canvas
24 x 20 inches

Tricky Cad (case II)
1954
collage
36 x 24 inches

Hiding Little in Big
1959
oil on canvas
40 x 72 inches

The Door of Manycolord Glass Opend, ImaginaryPortrait #1, Robert Duncan
1954
oil on canvas
70 x 33 1/2 inches

Kit Kat, Imaginary Portrait #12
1955
oil on canvasboard
14 x 18 inches

A Fairy Tale Landscape
1951
oil on canvas
36 x 47 inches

Study for Every Night And Alle
n.d.
graphite on paper
24 x 30 inches

Study for The Truth Shall Be Thy Warrant
n.d.
graphite on paper
24 x 30 inches

Untitled (Pooh Figure)
1953
collage
17 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches

Xrysxrossanthemums
1978
collage
19 1/2 x 23 3/4 inches

Untitled (Konrad Lorenz)
c.1955
collage
16 x 10 inches

Press Release

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present its fourth exhibition of works by the celebrated painter and collage artist Jess (Collins), a leading light of the 1950s Bay Area renaissance of artists and poets, and one of the most original American artists of the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition coincides with “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle,” at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, which explores one of the most productive artistic couples, often collaborators, and their milieu.

Jess is best known for his paste-ups and paintings that he referred to as his “salvages,” “translations,” and “romantic paintings.” His paste-ups are complicated Surrealist collages assembled using magazines, photographs, and any other material at hand. The “translations,” which comprise thirty-two paintings completed over thirty years, borrow images from a range of sources, including scientific illustrations, childhood photographs, and postcards. He used the term “salvages” for those works he created on paintings he found at thrift stores, or unfinished canvases of his own.

The exhibition will present a range of works from the 1950s to the 1990s, including seminal works from his oeuvre such as his first translation from 1959, and a rare 1954 collage from his Tricky Cad series. Tricky Cad was a series of collages in which words and images from Dick Tracy cartoons were rearranged into a garbled, Surrealist text. The series pre-figured Pop and is among the artist’s most significant series of early works.

Born Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California, he initially studied chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. He spent three years in the army at the Atomic Energy Laboratory, and had a small part in the Manhattan Project developing the first atom bomb. While working on an atomic energy project, he became disillusioned with science after having a nightmare about the world destroying itself, and instead turned to art.

Jess studied painting at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). His teachers included some of the most influential West Coast painters of the period, including David Park, Elmer Bischoff, and Clyfford Still. During this time, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, who would become his lifelong partner and frequent collaborator. They were an influential force in the San Francisco artistic community, who brought together painters and poets and organized exhibitions and readings.