Jess Beyler

Artist Statement: 
The subject matter of my paintings comes from my fascination with things we often think of as empty--sky, ocean, wind, light, the shape of motion, the passing of time, the dreaming mind, and the inarticulate longings of the heart. My visual vocabulary comes out of the body-based disciplines that I practice, primarily dancing and martial arts. Consequently, the marks I make are performed--that is to say, choreographed, crafted, rehearsed, and very physical. My strongest influences at this time are the choreographer Pina Bausch and the Butoh dance group Sankai Juku. My particular inflection of that body vocabulary comes from working with potentially contradictory qualities: Raw/Elegant, Powerful/Delicate, Spontaneity/Intention, Earthy/Spiritual, Ephemeral/Eternal.
Bio / Description: 

I was born in the Midwest where there are no mountains and no sea. The power and beauty of that landscape lies in the Zen like emptiness of the light-filled air, the wild sky splitting thunderstorms, the endless grass and the endless stars. Light, space and motion have been defining features of my work from the very beginning.

My formal artistic training began at Schiller European University in Strasbourg, France. I received my BFA from Maine College of Art and my MFA from the University of Iowa.

Body based disciplines have also been of foundational importance to my work. I studied ballet with Tatiana Bechanova of the Original Ballet Russe, modern dance at the University of Iowa, under Chester Wolensky of the Jose Limon Company, and at Ram Island Dance Company. I studied and taught Shotokan karate at the Japan Karate Association in Chicago, receiving my first degree black belt from Nishiyama, and my second degree black belt from Sugiyama.

I have shown my work in galleries across the country, including Chicago, New York, Portland, Maine, and Champaign, Illinois.
My paintings are included in the collection of The Davistown Museum in Maine, and at Kofusion in Champaign, IL, and can be viewed on my website, at
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44 E Main Street Penthouse Champaign, IL 61820