Artwave open house - Jessica Zoob

The most amazing moment during the hour or so I spend in Jessica Zoob’s art studio in de Montfort Road, which she will be opening up to the public every weekend during Artwave, is when she shows me a painting she did when she was living in London, more of which later. Jessica moved here over a year ago and the new series of paintings she will be displaying is called Simplicity.

She paints on canvases and boards of all sizes, which she lays flat and smears with oils and thinners and other paints. Then scratches away at her work. She often uses a knife. She smears and scratches, smears and scratches, to create a multilayered, multi-textured effect. The palette for this series is very pale - mainly different shades of white. “People think my work is abstract,” she says, “but it’s not. I don’t feel it’s abstract at all. It’s emotional and evocative.” At the moment she is very influenced by the sea. “I go swimming every day, either in Tide Mills or Burling Gap,” she says. You can see the sea in all her new work, though you have to use your imagination sometimes. You can also see pebbles and mist. “The pieces are all about reflection,” she says, “in both senses of the word. The reflection of the water, and self reflection when you contemplate it.” She says people tell her they love the fact they can see different things in her work every day. “It’s like looking into clouds, and seeing different shapes.” She speaks with enormous enthusiasm, and clearly loves her job. “I come down in the morning to the studio excited about what’s happening,” she says. “I’m learning new techniques all the time."

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Flat out: Jessica Zoob at work in her studio