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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Jess Cross

"First and foremost, my paintings are designed to tell a story. I utilize traditional portraiture, abstracted by an additional layer of information created by projections of light, in order to form a final product that is open to interpretation. In this way, the viewer has as much of a role as the artist in managing the meaning of the work on display.

I started the "Goddess" series after the birth of my son, while trying to figure out how to balance being an artist and a mother. A goddess must be beautiful yet strong; a warrior as well as a mother. Motherhood was romanticized in Ancient Greece in a way it is not today, and as an artist, teacher, wife and mother, I am trying to achieve the same balance these classical figures attained, juggling several different roles at once.

In a larger view, we are all a party to that balancing act. This series explores the universal dichotomy between strength and vulnerability; the projections can be interpreted as bruising or as war paint, and the viewer can take part in the ongoing conversation of the role of femininity: mother, child, warrior, victim; bearer of life or harbinger of death.

My current body of prints and paintings further explores themes of life, growth, death and decay. A series of bone prints were inspired by a painful post-partum experience in which I received a spinal blood patch to relieve debilitating headaches. I began the series with a small spine print, and led up to a Beauchene (exploded) skull. Future plans include additional hard ground etchings of anatomy.

With the newest “Immortal” paintings, I am attempting to evoke a sense of deterioration along with an idealized beauty. Greek god sculptures have been projected and obscured across the subjects, and the image is further abstracted through a rough application of paint and enhanced color. With this series, I believe I have taken my concept a step further by bringing the quality of the medium into the “information” for the viewer, who is ultimately made aware of the mortal behind the god."

Jess Cross

Jess Cross Davis
Born in Freedom, Pennsylvania
Lives and works in Salisbury, Maryland


2007 - Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Philadelphia, PA
MFA Art, Painting emphasis

2004 - Salisbury University Salisbury , MD
BFA Art, Painting emphasis

2000 - 2002 University of Maryland Baltimore County Baltimore , MD

Awards and Grants

2011 - Art Institute and Gallery, National Juried Show, Second Place Award of Excellence
2010 - Art Institute and Gallery, Delmarva Regional Exhibition, Second Place
2010 - Art Institute and Gallery, Big Exhibition, First Place
2010 - Art Institute and Gallery, January Show, Honorable Mention
2005 - PAFA Women's Board Scholarship
2005 - Art Institute and Gallery, Special Award for Painting
2005 - Art Institute and Gallery, Special Award for Sculpture
2004 - SU President's Art Award for Two Dimensional Studio
2002 - Salisbury University Art Scholarship
2000 - UMBC Artist Scholar (Awarded four-year full scholarship)
2000 - Maryland Artists Equity Foundation Scholarship
1999 - Maryland Distinguished Scholar in the Arts Finalist

Curatorial Projects

2006 - Spring Arts Festival, Art Institute and Gallery. Salisbury, MD
2005 - Spring Arts Festival, Art Institute and Gallery. Salisbury, MD 

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