About Jesse Thomas
Jesse Thomas is an artist based in St. Louis, MO. He studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and finished at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1993. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis in 2003.
Jesse teaches drawing, painting, and design at Washington University in St. Louis. He has taught in the University of Georgia's Cortona, Italy program and for the Washington University Summer Program in Florence, Italy. His work is held in the collections of the Olin Corporation, the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, and in numerous private collections.
Image above: Williamsburg, the General Presents his Design, 40 x 30, oil on canvas, 2010
About the work in the show
Jesse's paintings use a variety of painting and drawing techniques. There are areas of impasto and areas of finely rendered imagery. Parts of the painting lay flats while other areas are thick with paint. Faces in the paintings are all very detailed and lifelike as are a variety of still life elements in the images. Other areas of the painting such as the figures' clothing are treated almost like the cartoonish renderings of Philip Guston. The characters wear swathes of blue with just a little detail to point to a demarcation between sweater and trouser. Our attention is pointed away from the banality of what they might be wearing to what Jesse really wants us to see. He wants to draw us to texture and to the still life elements in the room and to the fact that they are in a room. These domestic interiors, populated by small groups of mostly men, provide an arena in which Thomas explores the arc of western pictorial form and thought. The paintings' narrative are an amalgamation of references to various cultural icons situated in bizarrely mundane settings. Some of the characters you will recognize.