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Jessie Henson employs notions of labor and time in her artmaking, looking for ways that repetitive actions of daily life accrue and build meaning, while pushing material elements to the threshold of fracture and disintegration. Mining the history of embroidery, Henson uses an industrial sewing machine to draw with thread on paper. As thread accrues, tension begins to overwhelm the paper, warping its surface into furrows and waves that result in undulating, topographical surfaces. Wild bursts of color penetrate the stillness of the paper. The movement of the threaded lines counters the quiet of the surface which bends with pull of the thread’s stitch and is ruptured by the fast-moving needle. Colors serve as the base of different emotional states of mind: pensive, passionate, furtive. The accumulation becomes an act of putting on armor, building up strength. Paradoxically, if the sewing builds up too much, the paper tears apart, laying bare the fragility of the underlying structure. 


The resulting sculptural and rendered forms often resemble environments, maps, landscapes, and scientific diagrams of the natural world. Merging the vernaculars of drawing, sculpture, and tapestry, Henson blurs the boundaries between these worlds.


Jessie Henson (b. 1977) lives and works in New York, NY and Delhi, NY. Henson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1999 from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. She then received a Master of Fine Arts in 2007 from the School of Mason Gross at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.


Henson has had solo exhibitions at Bushell Collective, Delhi, NY and A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY. Recent group exhibitions include Surfaces, Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Poetics of the Afterimage, Dieu Donne Papermill, New York, NY; Line, Bruce Gallery, Edinboro University, Endinboro, PA; The Quiet Show, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR; Commissaries, Foam Corp., Los Angeles, CA; Altered Views: Experiencing the Contemporary Landscape, The Loudon House, Lexington, KY; Studio Mates, Front Room Gallery, New York, NY; Converge 45, Oregon Contemporary, Portland, OR; Micro to Macro, Cuchifritos, New York, NY; Casa De Empena, Anonymous Gallery, Mexico City; reCOVERED, Frosh and Portmann, New York, NY. Henson has been an artist in residence at the Bronx Museum of Art, New York, NY; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; Urban Glass, New York, NY; the Laundromat Project, New York, NY; and Dieu Donne Papermill, New York, NY.