Born 1996 in San Fernando Valley, California, Valice lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Having initially studied Biopsychology she later decided to become an artist instead. She is precociously gifted, both as a painter and in her handling of space. For this exhibition, she has made a series of large and small scale portraits in oil.
Bold in scale and unflinching in their gaze, the face of the artist gazes out at us, like selfies rendered confidently, masterfully in oil. The artist as meme. Pensive, uncertain, lost in mourning for her father, who hailed from Italy and whom she recently lost, all too young, Valice’s compositions nod to a classical tradition of portraiture, their signifiers clear. Their distorted perspectives and the romantic stylised backdrops beyond the faces to 17th Flemish pastoral landscapes. But her characters, and she becomes such as the subject of her own painting, share a cartoonish voice that recalls the clownishness of George Condo, the outrageous figures of Phillip Guston, the bold and monumental gestures of Dana Schutz, their exaggerated extremities, feet, hands and ears, loom large, oversize, like Popeye’s bulging biceps, pulling the rug of assumed gravitas from underneath the painting as we study it. The works have a gravitational pull that is hard to walk away from. You want to talk to this person. Comfort her. Reassure her. Even argue with her perhaps. But you can’t turn your back on her.
Jess Valice has exhibited at Carl Kostyál, Stockholm; Bill Brady, Miami; ATM Gallery, NY, The Pit, LA; Wilding Cran Gallery, LA; The Lodge, LA; and the Library Street Collective in Detroit.