by Todd Camplin

About a month or so ago, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting Faith Scott Jessup’s and Robert
Jessup’s studio. I was invited to see Robert’s new work, but I found it a real bonus to also visit
Faith’s space as well. I had seen hints of Robert’s new direction at a recent show at Conduit
gallery of Dallas, at the UNT Gallery in downtown Dallas, and after my studio visit, I ran into
more work down in Houston at the McMurtrey Gallery. McMurtrey’s space could only contain
his small works, so I am hoping to see Robert’s new large paintings at another venue soon.
When I say large paintings, I am talking about paintings that are at Robert’s limits to move by
himself. But these are not just arbitrarily large, the size helps to expand the story his paintings
are conveying. At first glance, you might want to call them abstract, but Jessup is more akin
to works by Willem de Kooning in that he is more interested in human form. And like de Kooning,
Jessup tackles the idea of a portrait in a few of these works. He differs from de Kooning greatly
because Jessup is also very interested in a strong sense of narrative. These large works have the
character and feeling of a story. Even Jessup’s portraits seem to be less about the surface of
the figure and more about an idea or character sketch which easily leads into a story.  
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Robert Jessup - "January Number Two", 2014, 20 inches by 24 inches, oil
His painting, “Field Figure, Red White,” is reminiscent of a head shot photograph, but with an
odd twist of energized lines. The colors and implied narrative action of Jessup’s painting remind
me of Philip Guston’s later representational paintings. Like his more realistic works from the past,
Jessup is pursuing storytelling through painting. The only difference is that now the work is
stretching the limits of narrative painting into a more subjective, mysterious realm.

Faith Jessup - Red Tricycle, 20 inches by 21 inches, oil on panel

The McKinney Avenue Contemporary
Robert Jessup - "Ziggle Jag", 2014, 32 inches by 48 inches, oil
Robert Jessup - "Norseman's song", 2014, 80 inches by 120 inches, oil
legs and arms twisted together with an embrace. I was first struck by the movement of these