Artist Biography

Artist Biography


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Born in sunny South Africa, Jessica Ballantyne moved to London in 2009 after graduating with a BA in Fine art from the University of Pretoria.

Working primarily in the medium of oil on canvas, Jessica has, from an early age, been fascinated by the portrayal of subjective feeling and experience, especially in regards to the body. Her work is thus almost always figurative with a focus on the female body.

Jessica Ballantyne is influenced by Surrealism and photography, especially from artists such as Hans Bellmer, Dali, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman among many others.

Using thin layers of paint and rendering the body in often vibrant and unusual colours, Jessica creates a body that is naked, unusual and autonomous. Her wish is to paint about the experience of being a human being in a female body.  She combines her experience with philosophical, psychological and academic ideas about subjectivity and sexuality.

The relationship between the artist, the painting and viewer is an important element of her practice. She creates a distance between the subject of her painting and the viewer’s projection of their own fantasy or desire, by distorting the bodies in some way. In each piece the viewer is carefully considered in the relationship between what is seen and revealed of the body and how the body is portrayed.

Jessica Ballantyne wishes to create a body through painting, that is as beautiful as it is unusual. As a culture we have become accustomed to looking at the female body in a particular way- that of the sexual object. Jessica Ballantyne invites the viewer into a private, psychological space and manipulates the physical body, its portrayal and its meanings too.

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Slideshow Introduction