Monday, April 14, 2008

Transforming 185 Nassau into a Greenhouse: The Art of Jessie W. Thompson

The past few days have been extraordinarily busy for Jessie W. Thompson, a Molecular Biology major at Princeton. Saturday and Sunday were spent at 185 Nassau Street, hanging the collection of paintings that comprise her senior thesis in Visual Arts. Today, Jessie adjusted lighting and received the final word from her advisor. Saturday, Sunday and today were spent in anticipation of tomorrow, when her exhibition opens and the department critiques her work. Although it’s been difficult for Jessie, juggling her environmental microbiology thesis with her show at 185 Nassau, she looks forward to unveiling her artwork to the public.


The artwork in Jessie’s show combines representational drawing with abstract photography with particular focus on black and the silhouette in paint. Each piece touches upon the interplay of emotional extremes: joy and morbidity, love and loneliness, pain and ecstasy. Jessie explains, “I’d like folks to see this as a playful and joyous exposition of personal matters.”


A major theme of her installation evolves around the concept of a greenhouse, what Jessie finds to be “the most peaceful, pleasurable and thrilling of places.” In a greenhouse, humans and plants coexist; unlike the “cement-ridden habitats” of today’s urbanized world, a greenhouse sanctifies the nearly extinct tropics.


A statement from the artist: This collection of paintings and drawings has been gathered from places, moments, lights, leaves and imaginings I've come across in travels between classes and between continents. They reflect on the complex modern relationship between humans and the natural world, the emotion of quiet moments, the wondrous liquid colors of paint and ink, and the intricacies of nature.


Specifically, I would like to show you how a pen companionably scratches in memory, a few moments alone with a night full of lanterns, and a scent peculiar to the air of a greenhouse.


Jessie’s show will be held at 185 Nassau Street until April 19th (10:00 am to 4:30 pm).