Knoxville, TN | Sculpture, Mixed Media, Printmaking, Drawing, Installation
Jessie Van der Laan is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Knoxville, TN. Van der Laan was raised in Denver, CO, whose terrain continues to lend form and color to her imagery. Her work is informed by her training as a printmaker, and a childhood spent knitting, sewing, drawing, and daydreaming. She received her BFA in Printmaking and Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis, and her MFA in Studio Art from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has shown her work in numerous regional, national and international exhibitions. Her work was featured in a solo exhibition at Lindenwood University in St. Louis, MO and at Moberly College in Moberly, MO in the spring of 2013. She was the conference administrator for "Sphere" the 2015 SGC International Conference. She is currently an Instructor of Art at Walters State Community College in Morristown, TN.
My work embodies transition, in subject and form, relying on fragile boundaries between memory and hope, reality and imagination, two-dimensions and three-dimensions. I work interchangeably between drawing, printmaking, fiber sculpture, and installation, using repetition to build form and a sense of time. In the cycle of my process, constructed sculptures are made from re-purposed prints and collected materials, which become points of inspiration for drawings, from which the gesture of mark is translated into the stitched line in a hanging, fiber piece. I instinctively refer to natural colors and forms, such as linear striations of rock, muted tundra ochres, and blooming greys of an approaching storm. Selecting materials based on tactile qualities, I ease between responding to the work cognitively and emotively. The path is not always clear, and moments of ambiguity and uncertainty bring complex and subtle rewards.
The layered, cyclical approach of my process reflects the metaphors within my work. I want to bridge the space between cataclysm and catalyst. My work tells the story of attachment and loss by creating landscapes that transcend physicality to describe an inner, imagined spaces. I evoke the physical and emotional nature of reverent places that can be solitary, communal, natural, constructed, remembered and imagined. Tangled nets become topographic contours; seams define the meeting of two edges or two moments. Rock cairns and lighthouses are markers of paths, remnants of history; abandoned barns and small, mountain cemeteries are shadows of lives, relationships and families. Holes, cavities, and absence implies presence. I consider that as destruction can lead to reconstruction, mourning leads to celebration of life lived. Within the subtle, liminal, and bittersweet, I contemplate the sentiment of the past, and the potency of a hopeful future.