Jess Cofrin

MFA ’14 Fine Arts Low-Residency

I make paintings and prints exploring concepts of the self through visual abstraction. I’ve always had this desire to search within the darker parts of my own psyche and try and understand it better. My work is loosely autobiographical in that I pull from my own psychological and emotional experiences. In my own lived experience, the inner ideas of the self often remain hidden and underground especially during the more severe periods of depression and anxiety, and it can differ so much from the outward, above ground projection that others receive. There have been several episodes in my life where I experienced a loss of self, and I use my art to piece it back together. Color plays an integral role in this process. I employ color to explore further emotional depths and frequencies. In this way color becomes a secondary subject in the work. Recently, my work has been dominated by close up, truncated images of the body. I like to play with scale and explore how emotional depth can come through the painting without inserting the entire figure. During my undergraduate education in Art History and Anthropology, I focused my studies on the concept of “the other” and how western society “others” anyone who is not white and male. I concentrated on art from the African Diaspora and Feminist Art where these themes of identity, personhood, and spiritualism were ever present. I find that my background in Art History has a strong influence on my work.

Jess Cofrin received her BA in Art History from Cornell University before moving to London to pursue fine art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. She completed her MFA in 2D painting and printmaking from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited both domestically and abroad. She currently lives and works in Northampton, MA.