Jessica Labatte’s photographic work is an investigation in photographic illusion, while respecting the material processes of photography. Her most recent body of work addresses and employs light and color as a model for space and time; the barely visible, such as dust particles; minerals as pigments; and digital or antique photographic processes. A recent series, Spotting, each image starts as colorful, studio-constructed collage and is then transformed by her unwitting collaborators — her assistants; they removed dust from scanned negatives in Photoshop and Labatte chose to save the traces of their labors by making the erasure layer visible in the final image. On Artforum.com, Zachary Cahill discusses this series in depth, writing “In a blurring of authorship, Labatte creates these images with her assistants and includes their first names parenthetically in the individual photographs’ titles. Together, they composed pictures by an accretion of digital erasures, most notably in Spotting #11 (Elyse, Jessica), 2014. If the process sounds complicated to understand, that’s because it is, though the end results aren’t. The photographs are visually generous and are marked by blasts of color that register the living quality of time itself.”
Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL; Elmhurst Art Museum; Hyde Park Art Center; Higher Pictures, NYC; Golden Gallery, and Horton Gallery, NYC. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum.com, and Chicago Magazine. Labatte received an MFA and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and lives and works in the Chicagoland area.