jess prusa

can you     alright

installation (36”x24 mixed media on cork)

exhibited april 2018 at pilgrim’s progress

foundation :

In finishing final edits of more signs than sun I felt an urge to take a break from writing and express myself visually - something I hadn’t done in over a year. Not having canvas available, I removed reminder notes on my corkboard and began painting it. A poem emerged after I finished, setting the foundation for what would become can you alright - an installation as inventory that forced me to take stock - by handling, deconstructing and assembling - the materials of my immediate (internal and external) environment.

Creating a fixed composition with these materials lead me to consider the effect these items have on my body, as well as the environment. New insights emerged from how difficult items were to deconstruct, repurpose and secure onto a new surface. For example, the ikea light bulb took an incredible amount of force to crack open and even then, the hardware within was glued together so tightly, I needed a hammer to separate and extract core components, like the motherboard. If something’s made to sustain this amount of force, what does that mean for its recycling potential? Why are we making lightbulbs that will/can potentially outlive us, incapable of decomposing?

A similar thought arose from handling UTI medication, which I left in water to create a dye for styrofoam. I made the mistake of handling it without wearing gloves. It left an orange stain on my hand that lasted for about 2 days. If it had this big of an impact on my epidermis, imagine what ingesting it looks like internally.

The process of creating can you alright really changed the way I relate to what I choose and keep in my surroundings. I felt the materials haunting me, which generated a lot of writing during the four weeks it took to complete the project.

Collection available soon. 
painting + poem


3 Sleepy time tablets
2 Cystex tablets (dye for styrofoam)
Tums (pigment)
tampon inserter, wrapper
prescription bottle
toothpaste, tube and cap
bandaid / wrapper

price tag string of lamp that broke when I got home
ikea lightbulb : casing and innards, motherboard
diamontes from photo album cover
pillow case zipper
broom bristles
paint brush hairs
dish sponge
blanket yarn
bloody sheet
beach towel

marker caps
push pin backing
paper clips
oil, water, acrylic paint
notecards drawings
fake floral bouquet

clothing / apparel
rosary chain links / wooden beads
construction glove
broken earrings and necklace
shoe buckle, leather strap

produce netting
trader joe’s spinach bag
palette knife plastic sleeve