Jessica Skowroneck (1989) was born in Amsterdam but lived in Sweden most of her childhood. She studied at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and received a Bachelor of Fine Art with honors in 2013. In 2014 she was the winner of the Royal Award for Modern Painting in The Netherlands. Solo shows include “Land of Fools and Lovers” (2019, Galerie SANAA) and “Painting Back the Wild” (2021/2022, Galerie SANAA). She recently received the Artist Basic Grant from the Mondriaan Fund to further develop her work. She lives and works in the vicinity of Utrecht (NL), regularly showing her work in The Netherlands and abroad.
My recent paintings are inner landscapes. They show spaces that stand at the crossroads of the conscious and unconscious, between imagination and reality. My work is often inspired by photos or memories of the real world. By painting this world, I make it into a place of my own, a painted reality. I grew up in Sweden and nature has always been very important to me. Painting these landscapes, I began to see that they are both ‘inner’ space and ‘outer’ space. My aim is to connect the two. I’m looking for myself in nature, and for nature in myself.
The process of painting should allow for spontaneous marks and brushstrokes, colors, and forms. By working fast, I let my intuition lead the way in the studio. As a result, some paintings become more figurative, others less so. I often use the vertical format because I like the association with a door or a gate. The viewer is invited to step over an imaginary threshold into a painted realm where nothing is quite what it seems: The ground may shift, mountains might move. Rocks, rivers, and trees are beings for themselves – the personalities in these paintings with their own mysterious purpose.
Text by Hanne Hagenaars about my work: It’s all one, 2021
“Looking at Jessica’s paintings, you see silence and movement. If you open all your senses, you can hear the wind and possibly the low humming of insects, see the heat vibrating. Under the painter’s hands, strokes of paint form sand, vegetation, and stones, even as they appear to dissolve, become liquid. Back to the origin.”
About Land of Fools and Lovers (solo 2019)
Nature and the sensuality that lives within it, the hidden places in a landscape where encounters can take place, the light still visible through closed eyelids, the shapes that blur as they fly past a car window or filter through lazily lowered lashes.
For her solo exhibition “Land of Fools and Lovers”, Jessica Skowroneck made new paintings in varying sizes. Her work balances the figurative and the abstract, sometimes recognizable as a landscape and sometimes only as a hint of one. Then, paint, color and light take on a leading role. She creates a setting for invisible characters in stories of desire, physicality and sensuality. At the same time nature itself – the setting – becomes the most important character. The landscape is the body; nature and everything living in it is the beloved.
She asks herself if it’s foolish to still long to experience unity with nature today. Is it already too late? Or is the very act of awakening this desire the best way to change how we live our lives? Maybe seeing humanity as an intrinsic part of nature – and, in doing so, acknowledging the nature within ourselves – can be a powerful way to learn to love and care for ourselves and our surroundings.
Watch the video with a short interview here
Jury report Royal Award for Modern Painting 2014
Jessica Skowroneck creates forceful work that radiates a great degree of freedom. Pure painting that is all about movement, light and color. She is able to achieve a powerful effect with limited means. This is work that deserves attention. At first sight it seems as if the artist is just playing around, but the longer one looks at the work, the more it grows. Skowroneck treads a narrow line between freedom in painting and free brush-strokes. In all its freedom, the work displays a degree of control befitting an artist who dares to trust her intuition. The result is the creation of an almost intangible painting.