“…So would I live in rich imperial growth,
Touching the surface and the depth of things,
Instinctively responsive unto both,
Tasting the sweets of being and the stings,
Sensing the subtle spell of changing forms,
Like a strong tree against a thousand storms.”
– Claude McKay, Jamaica b. 1889
Jesse Wright is an interdisciplinary artist, instructor whose work often serves as tableaux in an ongoing poetic meditation on displacement, migration and scripture. His visual approach references his blended Jamaican American heritage. The work is layered and fragmented, shifting from figurative elements to painterly gestures, from collage to culture specific patterns forging visual circuits between ancestral narratives and present-day experiences intertwined with the spirit’s journey. Through mixed media paintings, often involving reclaimed materials from the streets, he recalls both urban textures as well as the various materials used across Jamaica’s landscape. The inclusion of language is as much a celebration of the hand painted signs and artistry from the island as it is a repurposing of the inundation of messaging found in cityscape billboards and advertisements. Wright often uses his maternal relatives as archetypes of migration and biblical allegory. This visual language speaks to a diverse reverence to a longing for home physically and spiritually. Hope, aspiration, strength and longing are all depicted giving attention to the complexity of humanity.
Wright’s paintings, murals, printmaking and videos also include those related to community engagement initiatives and global humanitarian projects – orphanages, medical centers, schools, and displacement camps – in Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Uganda and the United States.
Wright received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Middlesex Polytechnic in England. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions including Passaic County Art Center, Hawthorne, NJ; Newark Historical Society, Newark, NJ; Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ; Kean University, Union, NJ and Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts, Long Branch, NJ; Latchkey Gallery, New York, NY. Large scale commissioned murals can be seen in Terminals A & B at Newark Airport in NJ. Wright currently lives and works in New York with his wife, owner of Claybird Pottery Studio, and their twin daughters.