Artist Statement and Bio

In my work I consider the layers that make a whole – the contradictions that meet in the same space. I work interchangeably between drawing, printmaking, fiber sculpture, and installation, using repetition to build form and a sense of time. The work is an accumulation of dreams, worries, hopes, fears translated through shelters, caverns, bodies, hollows and perforations. I instinctively refer to natural colors and forms, such as linear striations of rock, muted tundra ochres, vibrant summer flowers, and blooming greys of an approaching storm. This imagery alludes to the world we inhabit, are desperate to protect, and which holds the history of generations. Figurative elements either become windows to what is exuberant and joyful or serve as shadows or veils, dulling and obscuring the elements below. I create depth and density through overlays of information, and light is found within the dark. Within the subtle, liminal, and bittersweet, I contemplate the sentiment of the past, and the potency of a hopeful future.

Jessie Van der Laan is an interdisciplinary artist, living in Knoxville, TN. She received her B.F.A in Printmaking and Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis (2002) and her M.F.A in Studio Art from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2009). Her work is informed by her training as a printmaker, and a childhood spent knitting, sewing, drawing, and daydreaming. Van der Laan was raised in Denver, CO, whose landscape continues to lend form and color to her work. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Walters State Community College in Morristown, TN. She has shown her work in numerous national and regional exhibitions, including solo shows at Lindenwood University and Moberly Community College of Missouri, the Rose Center for the Arts in Morristown, TN, and at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. She makes her work at The England Studio, in Knoxville.