Fig. 4 -- Far And Few...: Translation #15, 1965

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Fig. 4 -- Far And Few...: Translation #15
Artist name
Date created
oil on canvas mounted on velvet-covered wood
17 15/16 in. × 26 1/4 in. (45.56 cm × 66.68 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Mrs. Manfred Bransten Special Fund purchase
© JESS -The Jess Collins Trust
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 5 as part of Afterimages: Echoes of the 1960s in the Fisher and SFMOMA Collections

Audio Stories

On finding inspiration in pop culture and poetry

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SFX: Beatles hook 


ZULLY ADLER:  This painting belongs to Jess’s series called Translations. He was fascinated with popular culture and loved to collect magazine clippings and greeting cards and bubble gum cards like this one.  The original image itself is very small, but Jess expanded and modified it in order to make this painting.  Jess copied every detail of his source image, a bubblegum card of The Beatles, including the tiny ripples in the ocean water and John Lennon’s personal signature.  What is interesting is how Jess does not abide by the logic of the way colors should be used.  The Beatles here look like Fantastical creatures or Fantastical beings.  In the upper right hand corner Jess included a reference to Edward Leer’s 19th century rhyme The Jumblies.  It’s why he chose his colors to reflect lines from the poem.    


SFX:  Wobbly music/sound treatment to the a/x to cue that we’ve entered the poem 


ZULLY ADLER:  The Jumblies heads are green and their hands are blue and they went to sea in a sieve.  far and few far and few are the lands where the Jumblies live.     


SFX: Fade Out 


ZULLY ADLER:  Jess began his translations painting series in order to teach himself how to paint. And over the course of these 32 canvases Jess developed a uniquely thick painting style. Looking closely at these piece you can see globs of paint that adhere to the surface.  In this way Jess extends painting into three dimensions. 

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