Jessica Moritz is a French-Israeli artist based in Tel Aviv. Her talents span various mediums, including painting, printing, graffiti, and sculpture, to name a few. She has been awarded the 2006 LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE Young Artists' Award and the 2008 TAKASAGO Prize. Here, Moritz dives into her creative process, highlighting what went into two women-inspired series, "Liberty Girls" and "The Other Women."
In my work, I explore the status of women through the ages and different eras, as well as their representation and relationships with all people. I use images in ads or iconic illustrations in history. I use patterns to connect visual images with characters, placing them in the same spaces. With painting, I like to explore ideas of relationships, representation, and colors. I try to suggest different perspectives and reactions to the world in which we know so well. To me, images tell stories in the same way people or patterns do. Pattern is used as a reflection of images and drawing, as if each silhouette or portrait could be the same value as others. We identify bodies as part of our common knowledge, and often times, human intimacy is removed from that. Pattern is a disguise to cover up or illuminate some other parts [of our bodies], and subsequently, pattern can use lines in other ways. Lately, I've been researching and playing around more with colors and lights. I try to use less to show more.
This series was one of the projects I did while I was in residency at Con Artist Collective in New York. I usually worked on 3 to 5 projects at the same time. As I was working on big paintings and small drawings, as well as processing different artistic mediums and the New York vibe, I started to feel that [the human] flesh was being taken for granted, relationships among people were becoming sterile, and colors around me looked faded. Today, people can easily have relationships with others without any [substantial] connections with them, and bodies have lost the speciality in their quality.
Around the same time as when I made these discoveries, I met a guy who was completely disconnected from this world. He had no color, no smell, and he was out of time. At least, that ’s what I thought at first, but of course, I was wrong. He wanted to close off all connections to this world but not with me. We got closer. As much as he let me see his world, I had to read between the lines. Everyday, I was discovering new layers, so many shadows, and so much color, all at the same time. I decided to use these feelings in my work.
Line drawings are, from a distance, what we usually have between each other. The "liberty pattern" is old-fashioned, very used, and common. You can find it on tea packaging, book covers, and also on boxes of tampons. I felt it was the right amount of universal knowledge that I could use. With the bodies I depicted, I had to research sex images that dated back since the existence of photography. Body representation has existed for so many centuries, but the pictures we have and the culture around sex are all different. My process consisted of watching porn and looking at vintage pictures of eroticism. It's so crazy the progression of nudity through time and the different uses of framing and scaling of images through the ages.
I didn’t realize that many people around me would feel uncomfortable or excited about this kind of art and process. To me, it was just a reflection of what was happening in my life and in my art. Patterns are like avatars of feelings and sensations, of intersecting light. Layers of colors stand in as memory, and bodies can be seen as abstractions and interactions among others. I intentionally shattered some lines in my work and drew new borders. This series is a representation of how I see, live, and connect with people.
"The Other Women"
This series is about some stories I had heard and read. Like everyone else, I am connected to the world through social media, talking with friends, and even taking public transportation. Some days I feel like reading a crappy vintage novel or listening to rotten gossip. I started these art pieces without knowing it would become a series. I was trying to picture them in the moment. I used vintage ads, photographs, and magazines to get this particular kind of framing in the images. As usual, I worked with layers of plain colors, drawing, and pattern; this is my "trinity" when it comes to art. Little by little, the series started growing. I have so many stories written about my drawings. Each story has some writing, sometimes a poem, that tells a little bit more about the piece.
After writing about and drawing these pieces, a thought dawned on me. Most of the women in these pictures I found looked insecure and lacking of self confidence. This is why I try to see them in just one moment, but I also try to make these women as colorful as they appear to me. A moment in your life cannot define you. Neither can a single line.
Thanks, Jessica! You've given us new perspective on our surroundings! ◆