The Art of Jess Cross Davis



My paintings tell a story beyond the standard portrait by using projections of light to add another “layer” of information. The abstract imagery invites viewers to relate to the subject on their own terms; viewers must decipher the imagery, like a Rorschach Inkblot, seeing only what their unconscious informs them to see. You no longer have a portrait at face value, and through these portraits a universal mythos of experience can be tied back together between the viewers, subject, and me.



I started the “Goddess” series after the birth of my son, while trying to figure out how to balance being an artist and a mother. While considering this, I somehow linked my experience to that of a mythological goddess. As a goddess, you have to be beautiful yet strong, and you are often a warrior as well as a mother; motherhood is not romanticized now as it was in Ancient Greece. As an artist, teacher, wife and mother, I am trying to achieve the same balance Greek goddesses attained, holding several very different roles at once.



I have found that―mother or not―we all lead many different roles in our lives. With that, I decided to portray friends of mine as goddesses that they relate to, using Greek goddess slides as the additional layer of information. In one way, portraying a goddess makes them feel very powerful and beautiful, but exposing their shoulders to me and the camera makes them appear vulnerable. Often, we will discuss how they relate to their goddess, their mythology or their personality. I take this experience with me to the canvas as I paint the subject from the series of photos taken; I think about my subject, their family, the goddess they are representing, and bring that dialogue into my artwork. The paintings created show the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability; projections can be interpreted as bruising or as war paint, and the viewer can take part in our conversation or make their own personal dialogue about what is being portrayed. The subjects, now goddesses, show the conflicting sides of the feminine role: mother, child, warrior, victim; bearer of life or harbinger of death. In the end, the viewer is left to confront their own notions of femininity, power and sexuality.

Selene Waxing

Selene Waxing

The Faculty Voice has published – and will publish in the future – articles about gender, marginalization, and many related topics. Here we have the pleasure of presenting works of art inspired by the conflicting sides of the feminine role. –editor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s