Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Jessica Marine Gives the People What They Want: Weird Art for the Holidays

Jessica Marine makes art that nods to the beauty and absurdity of the world, and amplifies what exists right at the intersection of the two. Many of her paintings playfully personify animals and recognizable characters. Paired with her signature blend of high-contrast illustrative and colorful pop-art styles, her work forces viewers to question everything they thought about the world and have fun doing it.  What if octopuses do play with bath toys in their giant, oceanic bathtubs? Why wouldn’t you put a rubber chicken in a sardine can? When you look at her art, you fall into a world where the most nonsensical scenario makes perfect sense.

This is not the type of art you might think of during the holiday season, but Marine embraces its offkilter nature. “People WANT weird art for the holidays! We don’t want to disappoint the people!” is how she has announced her show opening this weekend at The Bonneville in downtown Ogden. Featuring an exciting array of acrylic paintings, photography and prints, the show is included in the December edition of Ogden’s monthly First Friday Art Stroll, which highlights artists of all mediums throughout Ogden’s downtown and Arts District areas.

Jessica Marine, “The Yeller Bellied Imposter,” metal print

Alongside her body of work featuring uniquely personified subjects, Marine also creates abstract paintings. While entirely different in composition, these pieces showcase the same staples that make her work both eye-catching and identifiable: a bold, but intentional contrast of color and texture, an exciting sense of placement, and an interesting use of perspective. Some of her abstract work creates the illusion that layers of the piece are shifting orders as your eyes travel around the painting. 

Her photography feels cohesive with her acrylic work, even though being a vastly different medium. Her photos take environments, objects and architecture and alter your perception of them. For example, a photo of a church in the middle of a demolition is made to look as if it were built half-in-shambles on purpose, almost statuesque. A photo of a staircase on the inside of a building is taken from behind staggered chairs, with the sun looking back at the camera. This is not the part of the room you would generally view the staircase from, so again, we are given a point of view by Marine that we probably wouldn’t have experienced on our own.

Jessica Marine’s photograph of a torn down church in Ogden, Utah

This show is full of personality, both in the art itself and the venue. The Bonneville is a workspace combined with an art hub, hosting various office spaces and meeting rooms, with a beautiful gallery and venue in the same space. The Bonneville hosts an art show each month, beginning the first Friday of the month and generally up to view until the first Friday of the next month. These art shows are free and right in the heart of Ogden.

Jessica Marine, The Bonneville, Ogden, Dec. 1 – Dec. 31. Opening reception, Friday, Dec. 1, 6-9 pm.

Photos are courtesy of Jessica Marine’s Instagram accounts: @fraidychicken and @ritterphototek

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