Freehand appliqué, splashy colours and loose, wobbly (occasionally phallic) shapes rule in the work of Jess Fuller. The Brooklyn-based artist has just opened Fairy Smoke at London’s Herald St, a title that fits well with this distractingly naive aesthetic.  

This is the first London solo show for Fuller, and it contains a selection of large scale, collaged appliqué works, that are incredibly characteristic of the artist’s style. Using a transparent technique, with stitches and joins clear to see, Fuller plays up to the art and crafts forms that have typically been thought of as being more ‘feminine’. Aforementioned phallus shapes add a further tongue-in-cheek (ahem) angle to these pieces.

But, they also mimic many of the shapes and tricks of 20th Century abstract and modernist painting. Pulling together a look that is inherently intellectual and heavyweight, with the softness of arts and crafts, and a bit of humour, Fuller creates an interesting conflict. There are some flashes too of the truly contemporary, with swathes of acid greens, bright pinks and yellows.

The titles of the works are rather romantic and musical (sometimes, literally as in Lyre and lute, double pipe, clarinet and sometimes more poetically, see A study in orange). Individually these works provide plenty of food for thought. En masse, they are jubilant.

Jess Fuller: Fairy Smoke is showing at Herald St until 4th October 2015

Jess Fuller Lettuce offering 2015 Acrylic and gesso on canvas 238.7 x 205.7 cm / 94 x 81 in
Lyre and lute, double pipe, clarinet 2015 Acrylic and gesso on canvas 254 x 208.2 cm / 100 x 82 in
Fairy Smoke installation view, Courtesy Herald St, London
Fairy Smoke installation view, Courtesy Herald St, London
Jess Fuller The fourthway, modest by day 2015 Acrylic and gesso on canvas 261.6 x 212 cm / 103 x 83.5 in
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