(1923 - 2004)

Jess was born Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California. He spent his early adulthood studying science at the California Institute of Technology before being drafted into the army to work on the Manhattan Project during the war years. At age 25, he experienced an intense vision of nuclear annihilation in the year 1975, which prompted him to quit his job and devote himself entirely to art. Moving to San Francisco during the heyday of the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), Jess studied under the artists Clyfford Still, Ad Reinhardt, Elmer Bischoff and David Park.

Working outside the contemporary art mainstream throughout his career, Jess gradually won national critical esteem. In 1993, a museum retrospective traveled to Buffalo, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Jess’s work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, CA. In 2013, The Crocker Art Museum mounted a traveling retrospective.


Jess Collins
Petals of Paint
16 x 12.25 inches
Oil on plywood