Jessica Rankin

AUS (1971). Lives and works in New York


Revenant, 2009 Embroidered on organdy, 271 x 227 cm

Cloud from Silt, 2009 Embroidered on organdy, 113 x 184,2 cm

Against the sky, 2012 Embroidered on organdy, 60,5 x 65,5 cm

Jessica Rankin’s embroidered paintings begin on colored organdy panels, a fabric known for its delicateness and transparence. The artist sews textual landscapes into this material that appears to be mountainous terrain, thermodynamic tables, and astronomical maps. Her early works were exclusively based on text and sought to capture
the artist’s thoughts through their uniformity, fragility, and, on occasions, their great weight.

As her work has evolved, the linearity and coherence of thought has disintegrated. The words no longer follow strict guides or form solid blocks. More and more she attempts to let thoughts and words reflect her fragmented nature—blurry, layered, and interconnected, with or without meaning. In her most recent creations the words drip and morph to create a complex network. The images and abstractions in her works here operate similarly.

They emerge and dissolve; they can be strident and ambiguous at the same time; they are a reaction to something and they sometimes betray the words that surround them, only to later create meaning out of different combinations. The artist also has a growing interest in the space between letters—the lacuna—the resonance of this negative space and the meaning it grants to the letters, works, and structures around it. The translucency of the organdy, hung several centimeters from the wall, allows for a reverberation of its shapes, projecting faint shadows on the surface behind. Rankin views the structure of her work as the “incarnation of thought.”