Jessica Cebra, from southern California, graduated from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2006, and lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area until the end of 2017. She also studied Library and Archival Science, and Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland which has inspired themes of permanence and ephemerality, preservation and loss, in her work. Jessica had her first solo exhibition at Transformer in 2013-14 and participated in the Sister Cities grant trip to Rome in 2016. She is now based in Southern California.
Complementary to my previous Waterworld series of paintings, these photographs represent the return to my first home in the desert lands. My Futures video for Transformer’s Evoking the Senses exhibition and programming conveys my mirroring of the vast ocean and remote desert. I find myself going full circle and returning to my early love of analog photography and film processing. The 35mm film I shot was pre-soaked in “film soup” chemistry allowing organic shapes and waving lines to interact with the captured imagery. Together they evoke otherworldly or underwater scenes with whimsical plantlife. I hope my images can inspire efforts to conserve and protect the desert lands. In the form of undulating mountains, flat mesas, and wide valleys, the desert embodies both fragility and resilience. My hometown and nearby destinations like Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego have been bustling with seasonal visitors so I’ve found myself seeking quietude on less traveled trails. Perpetually humbled by extreme desert conditions and the magical beauty of my surroundings, I’ve likened my recent experiences in the ocean with my current time being below sea level on the desert floor. It’s not so difficult to imagine that there was once water here and marine life. The desert has become my ocean floor.