Opening Reception August 6, 2015 7:30-10pm
Marlene Jess’ practice explores the marketing of convenience food and water products. It is a way for her to re-contextualize specific retail experiences and make sense of how they inform her as a citizen. Working in painting, sculpture and participatory performance, Jess investigates her role as a consumer of life-essential products.
Marlene Jess’ creative practice has always been fuelled by a quest to make sense of the myriad of signs in her path. She seeks to uncover a place of agency within the commercial constructs that are imposed upon her as a consumer.
Jess maps convenience culture. Her maps organize the many layers of information she is confronted with daily. Jess use maps to isolate, codify and signify.
By observing the aesthetic and social properties of retail environments, Jess considers how these environments subconsciously influence the passing individual and emphasize interesting elements. In the painting “welcome”, shopping carts are stowed under an image of mother embracing son. In the audio piece “audible edibles”, the ingredient list on the back of a condiment jar is recited by a shopper found in that supermarket aisle. Marlene Jess’ work explores how consumers associate with products.
She uses the familiar characteristics of retail packaging, signage and displays to entice viewers but then subvert advertising codes by using recognizably handmade or human-made style elements. In the process of making, she reinforces human values and invites the participant or viewer to consider their role in the marketplace.