Post by Amy Middleton.
Spending time with Jessie reminded me of playing the children’s party game, “pass the parcel”. With every diversion in conversation, the anticipation grew of something wonderful that was about to be revealed.
Jessie calls Upwey home but there is no denying the echoes of well-travelled life in her artwork. Her journey thus far seems to have been lifted from a story book and the tales she shared with me transverse between her primary school days living in the Dandenong Ranges, to Secondary school in France. Jessie was born in England but reflections of her French heritage are a strong source of inspiration for her.
Jessie describes her past as being a creative well that has consistently been a source she has drawn from, even though she may not have been aware of it at the time. Her most recent large scale commission, The Mad Artists Tea Party has returned memories of hand painting cherries on crockery during her internship in Burgundy at Chateau Raissac under the mentorship of Christine Viennnet. There is a confidence in Jessie’s mosaic creations that can be described as ripe and edgy. Whilst her sculptures are made from smashed crockery and grout, they seem alive and organic, with an air of extravagance. Jessie makes no apologies for the tensions her work present both practically and conceptually. Her use of dark grout in contrast with the floral patterns of Carlton Ware and delicate Royal Winton pastels seems to celebrate the cracks and imperfections imbedded within her medium.
Having completed her Master of Fine Art at Monash University Jessie has had to grapple with those key questions that all artists must face in order to defend a thesis and justify an experimental studio practise. Her work is full of symbolism and intension, and she feels it is important to communicate these ideas to her audience. She also describes her audience response as golden, enjoying the depth and interpretation others bring to her work.
It is a pleasure to listen to Jessie talk about her work, her knowledge of art history and personal drive to push creative boundaries is inspiring. She made a challenging statement that made me smile, “If you’re not excited about what you are making you will get lazy. Why put so much time and effort into mediocrity.” Jessie’s commitment to her work is evident in how prolific she is. She keeps creating new work that inspires new ideas and pushed the boundaries of her medium.
When I asked Jessie what she loved most about her creative life, the answer was simple, “Now that I have a dedicated space for my art is has become non-negotiable. I just need to do this.”
A collection of mosaic artworks by Jessie is currently on display at Burrinja.
Or head to onlinegalleries.com.au to make contact with her.