Jessica Simmons was born in Providence, RI. She is an MFA candidate at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015), received a BA from Brown University (2007) with a double concentration in Visual Arts and the History of Art and Architecture, and has also studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and the Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art in Pont Aven, France. She has worked on editions for artists such as Mel Bochner, Tom Friedman and Ellen Gallagher at Two Palms Press in Manhattan.  Before relocating to Chicago, Jessica was a Research Assistant and the Assistant to the Chief Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Through process, material, and mark making, Jessica's work contemplates physical traces of presence and absence.

Personal Statement

Of the bone on the beach: Os Innominatum, so called from bearing no resemblance to any known object. The river is within us, the sea is all about us; the sea is the land's edge also.

Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards; neither arrest nor movement. At the still point, there the dance is. The resolution of this partial horror is woven in the weakness of the changing body. Inveterate scars. Neither plentitude nor vacancy. The way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back. The backward half-look over the shoulder, toward the primitive terror.

This that was my body, cast into a corner of some dismal place, lies flawed, discarded and dusty.  Confused and murmuring words sometimes escape from these living pillars.

Examine it how we will, we can find in it no mouth, no stomach, no muscles, no nerves, no parts of any kind. It looks merely like a minute drop of gum with fine grains in it, floating in the water, sometimes with its fine threads outstretched, sometimes as a mere drop. The tiny cell is forlorn, void of the little living will. A cell once burst cannot be used again. Here then we have hundreds of tiny lasso-throwers acting as mouths, and only here and there air-breathing and head-crowned forms mingling in the throng.

Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight, their fluid bodies have dissolved in light. Things leak into each other: words, membranes, hot white flesh ties. A series of small lobes and toes. There is safety in pliability, which is surer than a stout resistance.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.