Join us online for an artist talk with current exhibiting artist Jennifer Jesseph. This event is free and open to the public. A recording of the artist talk will be shared on Jennifer’s exhibition page and the Rochester Art Center YouTube channel.
Jesseph is a poet and self-taught fiber and mixed media artist living in rural Pine Island, Minnesota. She has been working on fiber art in the two dimensional form for the past four years. She enjoys working in abstract portraits and has been currently doing this with watercolors, acrylics, and oil paints. Through her portraits she aims to empower both the subject and the viewer.
Who Is She?
On view March 17 – July 11, 2021
The inspiration for the exhibition Who Is She? originated when I stumbled upon the story of Lilly Yokio who, in the 1960s and 1970s, was well known and respected among the Circus community for her ability to do complex and surprising tricks on her bicycle. Yokio was the first woman to ride a golden BMX bicycle in high heels.
As I learned more about Yokio, I started asking myself: why wasn’t her incredible story still not widely known by the larger public? Historically, women (and especially women of color or with disabilities) have been left out from the mainstream narrative, and their contributions to society are yet to be recognized.
In an attempt to celebrate Lilly, and many other women like her, I use fiber art and portraiture to highlight the faces and stories of female heroes who made our world a better place. The meticulously detailed, repetitive and slow process of making stitched portraits brought me closer to the stories of my subjects. My goal is to inspire curiosity and discovery in the viewers, hoping they will engage with these stories and that it will bring a change of perspective, where the lives of female heroes will become more common in our recordings of history.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.