Jessica Mein, ‘Obras quarenta e dois’, 2014, Simon Preston Gallery

About Jessica Mein

Jessica Mein refers to her artworks as “obras,” which means both a work of art and construction site in her native Portuguese. This conscious word choice is meant to stress both the labor and source material of her artwork. In many of her pieces, Mein uses images salvaged from billboards which signify more than commercial culture and broad advertising to the artist. With a ban on outdoor advertisements in her hometown, Sao Paulo, the works subvert censorship by recycling the material for new purposes. Mein also notably punctures and unravels her canvas threads. Reminiscent of Lucio Fontana, the effacement of her canvases reveals the wall and supports behind them. This disruption of the picture plane distracts from the image and calls attention to the object as a piece of art and product of the artist’s physical handiwork. Through her ruptured canvases, the duality of Mein’s “obras” becomes strikingly clear.