Growing up down the street from the Homer Watson House and Gallery, Jessie developed an appreciation for the fine arts at a very early age. With her childhood home beautifully situated between the historic art gallery and the Grand River, Jessie could not help but draw inspiration for her artwork from her immediate surroundings. During her time as an undergraduate fine arts student at the University of Waterloo, Jessie extended her initial artistic interest in the Canadian landscape to encompass a broader phenomenon, which she refers to as the ‘familiar’. Often with reference to photographs from her own family albums, Jessie creates oil paintings with the intention of revering a ‘familiar’ quality within her chosen images, with which she believes many viewers are likely to connect. While aspiring to one day work as an artist on the Canadian East Coast, Jessie continues to live and work independently in Kitchener.
Despite our reliance on photographs as a means to make memories stand still, moments worth remembering can only endure when they are routinely shared between individuals. By uniting the expressive capacities of photography and paint, Jessie Rowe investigates the processes through which commonplace moments in time come to form the enduring narratives within a family history.
The works that she produces are, in essence, painterly translations of photographs that she uncovers in her own family albums. As illustrated by the out-of-focus quality of her paintings, static images often fall short in capturing the complexity of memories, which exist in a state of motion.
By liberating chosen photographs from the pages of private albums, Jessie aims to engage in the practice of keeping distant memories alive, while also provoking a dialogue on the significance of revisiting the past. To leave room for multiple generations of viewers to identify with the fleeting moments represented in her works, she gravitates towards source photographs that are rooted in the Canadian landscape.
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