German Ancestry: The Art Portfolio of Jess Richter

An installation view of a paper house with interior lightingHaus Süd, wood, screen print, paper, silver glitter, paper cut, laser-cut metal, lighting


Jess Richter is an artist who works in papercraft, painting, printmaking, and mixed media. The artist often combines different disciplines and aesthetics to create artworks that explore her German ancestry and prairie upbringing.

A detail image of a papercut houseHaus Ost (detail)


I enjoy the blend of delicate and defiant sensibilities that coexist in each of Jess’ artworks. As we discussed in our previous feature of Jess’ work surrounding her mixed cultural identity, the artist often utilizes the traditionally feminine medium of German papercut, (known as Scherenschnitte), placing her work in the territory of other subversive arts-and-crafts movement pioneers such as Miriam Schapiro and Sheila Hicks. Jess’ recent works showcase her expertise with papercraft and at creating atmosphere through lighting and installation in a three-dimensional space.

A screen capture of Jess Richter's art


Jess’ works often feature houses as motifs, sometimes constructed in three dimensions out of paper, and other times in two-dimensional print format. In both arrangements, the artist takes advantage of layering techniques to give the viewer a fragmented view into a private space.

A silkscreen print with patterns overlaid on a pale neutral groundThe road is blocked, UV-cured silkscreen, hand tinting on grey BFK

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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