Jess Tommeraasen – Red Lodge Clay Center

Jess TommeraasenMissoula, Montana

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2019

Jess Tommeraasen is from Nebraska where she acquired a BFA degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2017 and studied in New Zealand at Massey University College of the Creative Arts. She finished her undergraduate career with a solo exhibition “Fe₂O₃”  through the Outlook Project Award in which she received full support for independent research through the Elgas Project Grant. Tommeraasen completed a studio internship at the University of Montana in 2019 and currently resides in Missoula, MT where she continues to advance her studio practice.

Forming metaphorical relationships feeds the creative impulse within me; The vessel, a river, or a mineral as a reflection of the self is a means to celebrate our correlation with the rest of the living world. I utilize the human psyche’s tendency to use our body as a concrete form of a functioning organism to compare to more abstract concepts. Often times we unconsciously impose our own physical and cultural experiences onto our surroundings. For instance; when referring to ‘the mouth of a river’ we project the understanding of our own biology onto the way we interpret the earth to function, or how we find the land to be useful to us as homo sapiens. Through my artwork, I aim to address the undermining of the personification of nonhuman entities as primitive and unscientific. It is the nature of our human psychology to identify ourselves within other life forms in attempts to relate to them on a deeper level. The more we are able to see ourselves in everything, the easier it becomes to classify humanity as one part of a balanced ecological system rather than sitting at the top of a hierarchical pyramid. This not only informs us of our own cognitive states, but also increases our empathy and encourages us to form a moral obligation towards life forms outside of ourselves. My process is a combination of this practice and traditional research.