Growing up on a ranch 30 miles from Yellowstone Park, I was blessed with the presence of wild animals in my life. So, it is natural that they would play a prominent role in my art. As a student of art and art history, I have always been fascinated by the pottery of ancient cultures—its functionality as well as its decorative elements. As an artist, I believe it is important that we never lose a connection to ancient cultures. Their perspective on the universe and our place in it is crucial. My ceramics are an artist’s attempt to reconnect with those cultures and reaffirm the relationship between modern peoples and nature.
Over the years we have joyfully watched Jesse bloom as an artist. Early on, she asked us to critique her efforts in bronze sculpture. She was a young artist, full of energy, talent and potential, trying to establish herself within the western art tradition, one dominated by images of the cowboy (or cowgirl) and horse. Her bronzes were accomplished; however, they were not unique, and resembled much of what other artists had already made. When she switched from bronze to ceramics, it somehow freed her. Suddenly we began to see pieces that although undeveloped were incredibly fresh. We could see her excitement, and more importantly, her personality. Her work is now making a statement—incorporating her life experiences with references to ancient cultures, as well as playing with materials and forms. Her animals are not rendered, they are beautifully and poignantly expressed. Her forms are lyrical. With superb technical skills in a challenging medium, she asks us to pause and consider our early connection with the natural world.
Jesse has pushed herself beyond her comfort zone and her own expectations. We are honored to exhibit Jesse’s work, and we feel strongly that this grouping is worthy of your attention and admiration.
—Sue Simpson Gallagher and Chuck Neustifter