Eloise Hess

A Self-Repairing Zipper Gets Stuck
We have safe sleeping sites
Blink twice to turn a blind eye
Your Window, My Window
My Window, Your Window

8 Sep–28 Oct 2023
Eloise Hess


Helena Anrather is pleased to announce Eyelidding, a solo presentation by Eloise Hess. The exhibition is Hess’s first with the gallery and will be on view from September 8 through October 21. In this new body of work Eloise Hess layers imagery, shapes, and information, obscuring ground with surface and challenging perception and memory. 

In 1:12 Hess takes up the frame of a film reel to consider the slippage of recognition, showing a shadowy figure walking this way then that, overlayed with swatches of monochromy and recurring motion. Neither intelligible narrative nor supercut, the work suggests Hess’s interest in the relationship between abstraction and memory’s ever-present fault lines. A Self-Repairing Zipper Gets Stuck accomplishes something similar. Here, the artist works against transparency at every turn, oscillating between an interior and exterior, the elongated illustration of a common house key—normally a tool for entry and discovery—translated by Hess into a broken, zipper-like grid denying us access. We Have Safe Sleeping Sites moves the artist’s work into more explicitly political terrain. The visualization of safe sleeping sites for Los Angeles’s houseless population addresses an ethics of looking and being looked at that extends beyond, but nevertheless concerns, the aesthetic encounter.

Hess’ paintings are built up horizontally, beginning with a primed panel and encaustic medium melted into a flat plane. She composes layers of taken and found images, then separates them out to print each layer on a variety of thin papers and silk. She cuts the prints and places them in their own coats of encaustic. The application of heat causes the encaustic medium to seep through the pores of the paper or silk. She repeats this process between each layer; print, cut, place, fuse, coat. She often paints, draws, and transfers ink onto the prints or the encaustic coated surface between the layers.

​​The intermingling accumulations that emerge from this process register as archaeological investigations into the unexpected collisions, aporias and disjunctures that define human memory. Bypassing the associated facticity of photography, the artist employs the painterly frame as a multimedia screen on which the vagaries of retrospection, fantasy, and their operations on the present are simultaneously explored.

Eloise Hess was born in 1995 in Los Angeles, California. Through encaustic and collage based paintings, Hess explores the ways in which ethical recognition, reaction, and relation are conditioned and compelled, individually and collectively, across the highest and lowest registers of perception. Hess received a Bachelor of Art from Bennington College in 2017, and is currently working on her Master’s of Fine Art in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. She has shown at Helena Anrather, New York; Infinity Room Gallery, Los Angeles; Green Hall Gallery at Yale University, New Haven; and USDAN Gallery at Bennington College, Bennington. She has participated in residency at the Herekeke Arts Center, Lama, NM and AZ West, Joshua Tree, CA.

Exhibition text by Eloise Hess.