jess saldaña holds a BA in Music Composition and Theatre from Columbia College in Chicago, an MA in Performance Studies from NYU, and an MFA in Fine Art from Parsons with a certificate in Gender and Sexuality studies from The New School of Social Research. Their artistic work began in the public arts as a muralist on the Southside of Chicago— their hometown. Transdisciplinary in practice, the work is informed by disability and race studies, psychoanalysis, queer theory, shadow feminism, and Marxist critique. Poetry, photographs, paintings and drawings have been featured in the following; Hoochi Media (2018), Stonewall’s Legacy: Poetry Anthology (2019), Entropy Magazine (2019), among others.They have presented scholarly work at Black Portraiture[s] 2019 alongside Angela Davis, and have read poetry for The New Museum’s education programming. Photography from the series Trans-Landscapes—On The Edge of Entanglement was on view last January at CICA Museum in South Korea.
saldaña’s practice seeks to render nuances of intimacy and unearth the hidden potentials of an interdependent sociality; emphasizing fantasies of the ecstatic to redressing modes of grief and loss. Filmic mediums, poetry, performance, and music are combined using both documented and ephemeral forms. The work leans into the potency of the queer body as a means to destabilize institutional borders. There is a consideration for the indexical regarding presence, absence, and disappearance— as it relates to marginalization and the biopolitics of the archive. The gaze of figurative representation is delicately considered, establishing either close contact or distance with the viewer. Content is co-made, whether it be reframed from existing archives, in relation to a specific site, and/or documenting performance. There is an interest in collaboration as a means of blurring singular authorship. The works offer an intertextual view of the body, the photograph, and the written/spoken word.