On View

"A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me": Salvages II

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

"A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me": Salvages II

Artist: Jess (Burgess Collins) (American, 1923 - 2004)
Date: 1963-1972
Medium: oil on canvas over oil on wood
Frame: 18 1/4 × 22 3/8 × 1 in. (46.4 × 56.8 × 2.5 cm.)
Canvas: 16 × 20 in. (40.6 × 50.8 cm.)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 1972.90
Accession number: 1972.90
Classification: painting
Label TextA Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me began as an anonymous landscape found in a friend’s attic. “I saw on the wall…this tiny nameless forest landscape, pleasant, unassuming, bland. Only the painting of the central tree caught me up,” said Jess of the discovery. Reworked over nine years, the original smooth-surfaced painting was covered with thick, pastel impasto and randomly arranged figures and scenes. Only the central tree that initially interested the artist remains visible. There is no overlying narrative or visual connection between the various scenes and images Jess has collaged across the painting, creating a sense of disparate events occurring within a fantasy landscape, irrespective of time, space, and meaning. The work’s title comes from an essay by the Beat poet Robert Duncan, who was also Jess’ lifelong companion. An excerpt from the essay, along with the photographs that inspired the figures on the front can be found on the back of the painting, outlining the entire work in collage.
InscriptionJess '72

"A Panic that can Still Come Upon Me"
- Robert Duncan (on back in watercolor upper left)

Hinged cardboard on back (inside in felt pen)
Jess '72 "A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me" 188
In the world of saying and telling in which I first
same into words there is a primary trouble, a panic that
can still come upon me where the word no longer protects,
transforming teh threat of an overwhelming knowledge into
the power of an imagined reality, or abstracting from a
shaking experience terms for rationalization, but exposes
me the more.
- Robert Duncan, THE TRUTH & LIFE OF MYTH

Back of cardboard (across top in felt pen):
The fish in teh net, the nodes of the lattice, the images
crystallized with the paint:
(11 black and white photographs pasted below)
Exhibition History"Jess; A Grand Collage, 1951-1993," Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Sept. 11 - Oct. 31, 1993, (circulated to: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, Dec. 23, 1993 - Jan. 30, 1994, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, Feb. 28- April 28, 1994, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, June 1 - Aug. 30, 1994, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, Sept. 20 - Dec. 15, 1994)

"Jess: The Romantic Paintings," The Arts Club of Chicago, Feb. 25 - Apr.4, 1981

"Translations, Salvages, Paste-Ups by Jess," Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, (circulated to: University Art Museum, Berkely, June 7 - July 24, 1977; Des Moines Art center, Oct. 26 - Dec. 4, 1977; Odyssia Gallery, N.Y. "Paste Up and Salvages by Jess," Nov. 6, 1978 - Jan. 6, 1979)

"Seventieth American Exhibition," Art Institute of Chicago, IL, June 24 - Aug. 20, 1972
Published References"Jess: A Grand Collage," Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 1993, exh. cat. color ill. pl. 77, p.215

DMAC Bulletin, Sept./Oct., 1977, ill.

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. p.89, b/w ill. pl.64, p.88

THE NATHAN EMORY COFFIN COLLECTION, a portfolio of fifty selections from the collection, published by the Des Moines Art Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Nathan Emory Coffin, 1981, b/w ill.

AN UNCOMMON VISION: THE DES MOINES ART CENTER, Des Moines Art Center, 1998, ref. & color detail p.146, color ill. p.147

"Seventieth American Exhibition," Art Institute of Chicago, IL, 1972, exh. cat. no.24, ill. p.23

"Jess: To and From the Printed Page", Independent Curators International, New York, 2007, fig. 5, color ill. pg. 17
entirely unexpected