Jessi West Lundeen
MEDIUM: Acrylic Painting, Illustration, Calligraphy, Floral Design
AREA OF INTEREST: Identity, Power, Spirituality and Place
YEARS ACTIVE: 8
ARTIST STATEMENT / BIO
Jessi West Lundeen is a contemporary visual artist currently living and working in Denver, Colorado. After studying studio art and receiving her Masters in Art Education, she developed a colorful style of abstracted landscapes and figurative painting. In addition to having many private collectors, Jessi has been represented by multiple galleries in Jackson, WY and in addition has exhibited in New York City and Bellingham, WA. Mirada Fine Art currently represents Jessi’s work. In addition, her art can be found in many private collections as well as being displayed at Dwelling JH in Jackson Hole, WY.
"My work is a collection of ideas and images that have followed me throughout life.
My latest TOTEM and URBAN series focus on the dichotomy between landscape and cityscape. TOTEM goes a bit further to explore identity as a collection of experiences throughout one's life. This series as a whole explores many different elements of life that play off of each other in a dreamlike balancing act. I love creating these magical places where all of the questions and explorations of life and love can wildly breathe and grow with each other.”
Like the totems of the Native American tradition, this series of paintings represents symbols of life and identity. Growing up in rural Wyoming, Jessi connected with Native American ideas of the spirit as she was intimately connected to the landscapes and creatures surrounding her childhood home. These spiritual guides emerged in her work as she explored her environments, experiences, dreams, and her womanhood on the cusp of a new decade in life, living in a new city.
Many of the paintings in this TOTEM series juxtapose city landscapes with untamed images of the natural world. These habitats come together in dreamlike paintings to show the worlds that we live in, and represent past and present merging on canvas, shaping the future. During her time in New York City, Jessi was struck by the vast expanse of human creation, with the same sort of awe one feels when gazing upon a fiery aspen or mountain summit. Living in Denver Jessi has found, and seen in others, a seemingly perfect balance between city and country life. Denver is a city branched with roads leading to mountain vistas, lakes, and rivers. It is this city she subconsciously painted as she merged her New York and Wyoming lives.
As with the dichotomy between urban and rural, Jessi plays upon the differences between male and female images in nature to represent the interconnectedness of masculine and feminine roles in the human experience. The antlers add a masculine spirit to the totem series, but also act as a representation of renewal and growth through the shedding of layers. Crowns, flowers and the celestial bodies play a feminine role to counterbalance the masculine elements in her paintings.
Native American clans on the Northwestern coast use the owl at the crest of their Totems. The owls can be seen as the crest of the series, culminating self-portraits resulting from this exploration of Jessi’s past life experiences. The owl possesses within her all of these transformations, but the viewer is left with the essence of self. The owls appear as the focal point, standing seemingly alone, but often in the spotlight of the moon. Like the owl, Jessi too has learned to stand unabashedly alone. The observant eyes of the owl radiate with the confidence of a woman who has collected life experiences, and represent her desire to both observe and experience the beauty of life as it unfolds. The delicate branches and flowers that cloak the owl symbolize an innate maternal force that drives Jessi to live me life with and for love.
Jessi’s hope is that viewers reflect on their journey, and think about what brought them to this very moment, as they get a glimpse into hers.