I am fascinated with paradoxical concepts and instances of duality where the mind pulls acutely in two directions. Recognition of paradoxes and duality in our thinking is an opportunity to question what we know and understand about how we think. Similarly perceptual phenomena including illusions and other perceptual “glitches” provide a sensory conflict that provokes us to question how we perceive. Therefore my work traverses between paradoxical or dualistic themes and an exploration of systems of visual perception in an effort to find cognitive and visual disruptions or surprises; I use these as flashes of illumination into the often obscure or unconscious ways we construct an understanding of experiences in our lives.My preferred media are digital imaging, video, and installation, so the impact of digital imaging and editing on modern perception plays a role in my approach.

My work also reflects the influence of Perceptual Abstraction, most notably Color Field Painting, and contemporary Perceptual Art, however in contrast to the Perceptual Abstraction movement and much contemporary work in the field, I typically use familiar naturalistic or representational forms instead of pure abstraction. This choice acknowledges that the evolution of human perception is directly related to the advantage of sensing elements in one’s environment. Additionally, my work references Avant-garde Structural Film, which is a model for exploring concepts of perceptual experience and leveraging cognitive conflicts and illusions to jolt the viewer into heightened awareness of mental constructions.


Jessica Larva was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her BFA (2002) and MFA (2005) in new media art at Ohio State University.

Larva has exhibited across the country including notable exhibitions such as her solo shows Leeward at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas (2017) and Fluid Horizons at Ohio Dominican University (2013), group exhibitions Monochrome at the Manifest Gallery (Ohio, 2017), iDEAS at the Laird-Norton Center (Minnesota, 2016), 64 at the Buchanan Center for the Arts (Illinois, 2015), Sky High at the Riffe Gallery and Southern Ohio Portsmouth Museum (2014), Botanicals at the Kiernan Gallery (Virginia, 2013) Photo Plus at the Jacob Jarvits Center (New York, 2003), two-person installation Inscription (Ohio, 2011), video screening at Mission Art Walk (Texas, 2007) and at the Wexner Center (Ohio, 2005). Additionally Larva co-curated Tracing Lines at the Urban Art Space (Ohio, 2012) and curated numerous new media exhibitions in her role as exhibition chair of the not-for- profit arts organization Fuse Factory.

Larva was formerly the studio assistant for artist Ann Hamilton and a founding member of Fuse Factory. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Media, and Design at DePaul University.