Jessica Witte is a nationally-exhibited, award-winning artist. In 2017, her Seed the Change public art project garnered national recognition from Americans for the Arts. Her multi-media work has been included in over 50 exhibitions at venues such as the San Diego Art Institute, the Textile Center (Minneapolis, MN), Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney, NE), Rockford Art Museum (Rockford, IL), Koehline Museum of Art (Des Plaines, IL), Maas Gallery (Purchase, NY), Good Citizen Gallery (St. Louis, MO), Athens Institute of Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), WomanMade Gallery and Beverly Art Center (both Chicago, IL).
My projects explore entropy and engagement, labor and maintenance, and embrace change.
I create growing, shifting drawings with the public often captured by time-lapse. Seed is often used as a metaphor for growth and potential. It also is readily available, feeds wildlife and is low impact on a site. Floral patterns grow. UV-burned newsprint fades with each viewing. Initially depending on the public to move, shift and/or destroy fragile large-scale works, my birdseed doilies project has become an investigation in collaboration and how to harness the unknown.
The use of ephemeral or discarded materials and intricate futile activity allude to my desire to fix the transitory. The residue of previous activity calls attention to flux and metamorphosis.
My birdseed drawings are a record of labor. They celebrate maintenance. The forms are created in an improvisational way, using generic geometric forms and alluding to delicate handiwork, mandalas, and kolams. As some daily activities lapse into chaos or fade without our attentions, the drawings serve as a reminder of a brief fixing of the transitory. Gallery visitors activate the work by walking across it, altering the configuration, and dispersing the protected interior installation by the handful. The responsibility for removing the work during the run of the show falls into the hands of those who enter the space. The exterior works feed wildlife, insects and are carried by wind and rain. The visual and literal disintegration of the works is not a statement of futility, but a reference to the acceptance of the porous architecture of our own bodies and the beauty in use and entropy.