Jessie Mott

Region: Midwest

My practice encompasses a variety of media—including painting, drawing, sculpture, and writing—though I am best known for watercolor animal paintings in animations I make collaboratively with artist and writer Steve Reinke. In this body of work, I write melancholic and absurdist dialogue for the creatures that Reinke animates.

The work explores themes of queerness, eroticism, power, and vulnerability. Solitary hybrid creatures float in a blank white background, portraitlike. Their bodies transcend binary gender categories as well as the human–animal divide. Like an abject fairy tale, the work combines playfulness, innocence, and the suggestion of raw desire and/or shame; multiple worlds exist at once.

Colorful geometric patterning, the use of twinning/doubling, and symbolism rooted in ancient cultures coexist with the creatures’ often seductive yet unnerving gaze. The paintings invite the viewer to project their own fantasies or narrative onto the image.