Jessica Esch: Artist Statement
Jessica Esch’s Fill in the Blanks typelooping series began by playing with both the repetition of life in a global pandemic and the centering of mantras in the face of uncertainty. Like much of her work, this series draws on her talent as a writer and illustrator to create multi-sensory experiences where words and found materials become meditative chants and unexpectedly beautiful.
Esch created typelooping to provide focus, stamina, and surprise in an unsettling but routine time. Recognizable phrases gain new meaning when grammar norms are ignored and redundant words are eliminated. Capturing words without spaces or punctuation conveys the constraints of self-isolation and physical distance. She reflects the moment by using materials on hand like disposable masks, paper bags, leaves, and recycled packaging that she massages to feed through one of her seven typewriters. This juxtaposition of tedium and unanticipated delight speaks to her days during this pandemic.
Esch invites the viewer to pay close attention and read the letters deliberately so as to allow the original meaning to surface. This intentional slowing parallels the downshift caused by a global pandemic, as well as showcases the positive benefits of repetitive language.