2010 BA Mills College, Oakland, CA
California based artist Jessie Thatcher received her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Arts from Mills
College. During her studies, Jessie received the Dean’s Scholarship, Mills Scholarship, and the
Mills College Undergraduate Research Grant. Thatcher is a multimedia visual artist dealing with
various themes of communication and interference. In her practice, she addresses concepts
such as re-photography, camera deconstruction, pinhole photography, and the reinterpretation
of the photographic medium.
2018 “The Fractured Gaze,” The Directed Art Modern, Miami, FL
2017 "With Liberty and Justice for Some," Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA
2017 "SANCTUARY CITY: With Liberty and Justice for Some," San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, SF, CA
2017 "With Liberty and Justice for Some," Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2016 "ROCK PAPER SCISSORS," DZINE Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2016 "#portrait," DZINE Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2015-2016 "Pattern Language," DZINE Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2010 "Divergence," Senior Exhibition, Mills College, CA
2016 The Old New Way-This life. This world. "ART: PHOTOGRAPHY," http://theoldnewway.com
2014 Forage Press, Visual Interpretation of Sound Project, "Submerged.": http://www.foragepress.com/content/submerged
2013 Submit for RIff, "Submission No.33," Berkeley, CA
2012 Sprocketbox Entertainment, "Face Figure Identity," Chicago, IL
2012 Submit for Riff, "Submission No. 12," Berkeley, CA2011 Ambush Review 2, San Francisco, CA
2011 Positive Magazine, "Close Series," London, UK : http://www.positive-magazine.com/close-series-jessie-tatcher/
Awards & Grants
2008 Dean's Scholarhip, Mills College, Oakland, CA
2008 Mills College Scholarship, Mills College, Oakland, CA
2009 Yale Norfolk Summer School, Nominee, Norfolk, CT
2010 UROP Grant- Mills College Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant, Mills College, Oakland, CA
2016 Mills College Artists' Network, Oakland, CA
2016 Art Auction Benefiting Mills College: MILLS ARTISTS NETWORK RALLIES TO RAISE SCHOLARSHIP
2016 January, Artists in Conversation, Pattern Language, DZINE, SF
The New Old Way: Tom Clyde, Berkeley, CA
Jessie is an artist friend (whom I met through Miriam Dym and our shared project, Submit for Riff).
Jessie’s work explores how we see and organize the world visually. She presses against the limits of our narrow primate vision, bending forms, breaking habits, through photographs, drawings, collage.
She took the time to answer the questions I posed when I introduced this topic in Reading for Our Eleventh Meeting on March 30, 2016 — ART: PHOTOGRAPHY.
Here is what she said:
Can art function as a “religion,” as some people claim?
When I think of religion, I think of rule following and when I think of art, I think of rule breaking. But, there is an implied set of aesthetic rules when making art and an artistic practice could be considered a religious one. I just don’t know…it depends on what your perception of religion is and how you view art. I’m not a religious person, but I guess I do find a type of spirituality in making art and viewing art. I think of art as more of a conversation than a preaching device. Those who want to join into the conversation, that’s welcomed, and it’s also fine if people don’t.
Can a painting, a song, a sculpture, a performance, even a photograph, give us meaning?
Yes, I think so. When I think of the word “meaning” applied to art, I translate the word to “heightened experience.”
As an artist I am constantly asking myself why did I choose this lifestyle, why couldn’t I have chosen a more practical occupation? Is art important?
Through experience we can answer these questions. For instance, the answer to my questions about the meaning of art took an act of walking into a real estate office. I walked into this completely deserted office and developed this strong reaction to this isolated room in space, shocked by its one- dimensionality; the beige walls mix into the brown floors, completely devoid of art, family pictures poorly hung and cheaply printed, there was no aesthetic reflection in this office, unless it was a fascist one. This beige- khaki pants office was the answer to me, this little office was an isolated representation to me of what the world might look like if there wasn’t any art, and it was awful. It was boring and stagnant. I realized then and there that I might not make much money being an artist, but I do live a visually rich life, and to me that adds so much meaning. And by visually rich, I mean, I am actively looking all the time, whether I’m making art, or working a menial job, I am constantly observing and arranging.
What do representations of the natural world do for our particular species of primate, homo sapians?
We are programed to scan our environments very quickly. Just try and focus on one object for more than a second, it’s very hard. Our eye movements are programed to scan quickly and we don’t focus in one area for very long. It’s a human glitch! So yes, I think we do need pictorial references– isolated documents of time–to slow us down, and look. I think the “meaning” or resonance comes along after the fact, it’s when you encounter whatever that artwork was referring to in your daily experience. I think artwork does add meaning to our lives.
Why do we seek them so avidly? Why do they fill us with longing? Make us shiver? Sometimes even change us forever?
I had a “shiver” response once! A couple years back, I visited an Agnes Martin exhibition and the gallery room was filled with all of her pastel line paintings and I got shivers. I’m not sure why I got shivers, but I strongly reacted to that work.
When I think about my process as an artist, it’s primarily a nonverbal process. So it makes sense to me that we have nonverbal reactions to some artworks.
POSITIVE MAGAZINE INTERVIEW:
MARCH 19, 2012
Edited by Matilde Casaglia, Art Editor – email@example.com
Photos by Jessie Thatcher http://www.positive-magazine.com/close-series-jessie-tatcher/
Jessie Thatcher is a photographer with a passion for abstraction and complexity. Her artworks are the result of a compounded deconstruction which aims at a re-photography that creates movements and possibilities. The artist studied in California (Sierra College, UC Berkeley and Mills College), where she still lives.
Viewing the images of the Close Series invites and fascinates depicting and guessing what it is. The artist explains: “As a viewer, I want to struggle at what I am seeing. ” Her work is not focused on minimalism, she struggles to recreate a mixture of photography and abstract art in order to stress a minimal-perfectionist quality.
All of the images differ slightly in tone, as a result of the elaborate process which is intended to achieve complexity. Jessie Thatcher uses a particular technique to produce her artworks: scan, print, grid, dissect, arrange, scan, dissect, photograph, print. “In this process, I don’t color correct and I allow the camera to pick up whatever discoloration occurs at the time; there is a great level of chance at play.” The artist leaves the control to the discoloration, until when she has to arrange the imagery. At this point she has to put her hands on it. But she is not looking for corrections. “My photographic work is kind of a revolt against the traditional approaches to photography. This series is similar in response to the post-modernists in the 80’s about what is original? In this series, I wanted to achieve a complexity at viewing an image and reproducing an image and allowing whatever imperfections take place during this process.”
The artist wants to make the viewers integrate and blend the role of memory in their daily intake imagery. She is asking us to look at an image in more complex terms.