10 March to 2 April 2022

Artist Statement

Primordial /prʌɪˈmɔːdɪəl/


  1. existing at or from the beginning of time; primeval.
  2. basic; fundamental.

Primordial is a collection of works borne out of a mining of personal experience. As I leave the stage of life ruled by the creation of progeny and their iron grip on my body, I again wrestle with who I am and what mark I might leave on this world; how I’ll be remembered and whether there’ll be any truth to the stories. I survey the expanse of my life and wonder how much of what I see was planted by other people, how many blooms were with me as seeds when I began, how many seeds I might still be carrying, waiting for the right conditions to burst into life. I count my desires and I count my doubts, the things burned away by trials by fire and the things left in the crucible. I wonder if these things live in other people too, just waiting for fire or rain to draw them forth, if under the skin we might all start the same, twisted and configured into the things we become, or there is some fundamental thing lurking in me alone that determine my path before I drew breath.

It’s human nature to want to see ourselves in the experiences of others, just as its human nature to offer others the chance to see themselves within us. At our core we become great excavators, digging with eager fingers to pull out fragments of ourselves, polishing their surfaces until others might see themselves reflected in their facets. Over time we take these shards and cloak them in symbolism and storytelling, translating them so that others might speak them, passing them on so others might carry them. On and on we drag out parts of ourselves; its only when we look to the stories we carry that we’ve been dragging out the same part always, that we’re finding and clothing and carrying the same primordial hope and horror that lived in the first humans and will likely live in the last the last.

These works are the moments that these ever-present fears and fascinations revealed themselves, looming out of the dark, moments of profound experience shrouded in the symbolism of myth and horror so that what once lived in my heart might live in many, revelatory in the way that all the heavy pieces of ourselves are. They’re the result of a cleaving, an opening, a delving, an honouring of moments my heart was held in a story that wasn’t my own, an offer to see the things this labour has borne and to find a home in the space it has wrought.


Jess Taylor is an early career artist who lives and works on Kaurna land. Taylor’s work explores her fascination with fictional horror through primarily digital methods of making, with a focus on concepts of the monstrous, voyeurism, and depictions of female brutality, sadism, and masochism. Taylor sees horror as a genre that interrogates and reveals our darkest cultural norms, and whose women offer powerful tales of suffering, empowerment and retribution. Using her own body and likeness exclusively, Taylor translates her own experiences into the symbolic language of horror, presenting odes to womanhood as something complex and contradictory. Taylor’s works run the gamut between immersive virtual environments, video, photography, and intricate 3D printed and fabricated objects, extending on the rich history between technology and the terrible.

Graduating with honours from Adelaide Central School of Art in 2013, Taylor completed a Masters by Research at UniSA in 2018, expanding on the ways an artist might make a friend of horror. Taylor was awarded the studio residency at Ace Open in 2019, has exhibited locally and nationally, and has been a finalist or awardee of several arts prizes. She currently lectures at Adelaide Central School of art and works out of her home studio.