My Artist Statement

Jesse Riesmeyer, a Pittsburgh native, has been experimenting in abstract drawing since her youth. She has participated in many group showings including several self-promoted and produced multi-disciplinary events, On Common Ground in Garfield, Art Space in the South Side and From Ivy With Art in Shadyside. Jesse also exhibited through FLUX, a multi-disciplinary art series that celebrated the region’s greatest but often overlooked attributes: our artists and communities. Her work was very well-received after her acceptance into the Emerging Artist Program allowed her to participate in the 2005 Three Rivers Arts Festival. Jesse’s art hangs in galleries throughout Pittsburgh and was the focus of several solo shows at Boxheart, Elan and The Butler Art Center during 2006 and 2007.

With a strong desire to incorporate art into her career, Riesmeyer studied Graphic Design at the Pittsburgh Technical Institute, receiving her Associates’ Degree in 1998. Since then, she has worked in the digital department of The Photo Depot in Sewickley, PA, restoring old photographs as well as editing and embellishing professional photography with Adobe Photoshop. She is also a freelance designer and very often helps promote the local, Pittsburgh art and music scenes.

Called Organic Graphite™, Jesse has established a definitive style; pencil and paper, black and white, texture and light. Her technique involves an intricate interplay between positive and negative space, and energy. She layers grey tones and strategic perspectives in high contrast, creating elaborate sonatas of detail. Each composition is distinctive and completely new, inviting the viewer to linger and explore, deciding for oneself where Riesmeyer’s world will take him.

Influenced heavily by Escher, she allows her work to take its own path without over-planning or restricting the subject. She wants it to remain fun and quirky, just like the titles that describe her work, frequently naming pieces to emphasize their more playful aspects. Other sources of inspiration range from artists such as H.R. Giger, Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss, and Ansel Adams, to common, everyday occurrences in life such as cloud formations, long afternoon shadows, or gaudy wallpaper. Jesse is constantly influenced by the world around her, inviting inspiration from the simplicities of life.

When beginning a drawing, Riesmeyer doesn’t have an idea of what it will become. She begins with simple shapes and shading, pausing often to notice figures that begin to form. She allows the play of light and dark guide her, no matter how extraordinary or incompatible the elements may seem at the time. It is always a surprise, even for her to see where any one drawing will end. How does she know it is finished? “It just feels balanced,” says Jesse. The drawing itself is the process.

Riesmeyer prefers to use soft graphite pencils and an acid free, heavy-weight paper with a vellum surface. The paper has an excellent texture and works wonderfully with any dry media. She never erases, as it changes the paper’s texture, flattening it and creating an undesirable, distracting variation. When working on a piece, Riesmeyer says that if her work loses direction, she will toil until something makes sense, preferring to continue on the same drawing so that the facet that will make this piece exceptional is not missed.

Under pressure to simply describe Jesse’s work, a colleague once said, “If Escher and Dali have a love child, this is what it would look like.” Although only one’s perspective, this musing captures Jesse’s synthesis of contrast and fluidity, permanence and subtlety, tangibility and surrealism. Jesse continues to reach new levels of sophistication with her artwork; each piece is incredible in its depth and imagination, demanding to be appreciated.

Journal Comments

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