Jessica Damen Fine Art

Rock-A-Bye Baby, IV
12" x 12"
oil on wood panel
2012

Rock-A-Bye Baby series is based upon a 17th century English dangling song and perhaps influenced by the sight of indigenous infants rocking in cradles hanging from trees. The last line, "When the bough breaks the cradle will fall, and down will go baby, cradle and all," is a frightening scene. But because of the song’s longevity, it is believed that the song speaks to a primal fear or unacceptable hostility.

From the interview with Ted Hendriks, BMoreArt (edited)
I remember singing the rock-a-bye baby song to my baby and realizing just how hostile the song is. Of course, what parent doesn’t occasionally think, "I wish this baby would just stop crying?" And obviously most people don’t express that hostility in action. Singing is a acceptable release. My paintings runs with this idea and I hope, leaves more to the viewer’s imagination.

Rock-A-Bye series was exhibited at Altered Truths – Fractured Myths, with Oletha DeVane, sculptor, City Arts Gallery Baltimore, MD. 11/2011 - 1/2012

Jessica Damen, dubbed the “Lewis Carroll of Baltimore” by renowned artist, Grace Hartigan, is known for her narrative, oil and ink brush paintings. Inspired by myth, fairytale, verse and the mythic in contemporary events, her paintings were described by Glenn McNatt, Baltimore Sun Art Critic, as “...surreal, sometimes nightmarish scenes of childhood anxiety that seem to hover just outside the neat categories of fantasy, expressionism or realistic depiction.”(Baltimore Sun). Damen has had regular solo exhibitions at commercial and alternative galleries throughout the Washington DC – Baltimore Metropolitan region. Her paintings have been selected for invitational shows at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (DCCA) and the Maryland Art Place (MAP) and she was one of five artists included in MAP’s exhibition, “Athena’s Daughters” curated by Grace Hartigan.