For our first sculpture artist spotlight for Henderson Avenue, we’re featuring Art On Henderson 2019 finalist Jennifer Wester. Wester’s piece View-quet is one of the installations currently on view along Henderson Avenue. We hope you enjoy learning more about the sculpture as well as the artist behind it!
How long have you been working as a sculptor?
I began my sculptural practice in 2013 while on campus at Yale University. I was honored to have my first solo sculptural show in March of 2016 at the Umbrella Gallery in Deep Ellum.
How long have you lived in Dallas? How does Dallas inspire or challenge your work?
Dallas inspires me and challenges me in many ways. My identity is heavily rooted here, yet I feel I’m often seen as an outsider due to my time away. I am a fifth generation Dallasite, descendent of families that moved to North Texas in the mid to late 1800s, and to Dallas, specifically, in the early 1900s. I grew up in North Oak Cliff, West Dallas, the Park Cities, and Kaufman county before spending 16 years as a teen and young adult traveling the world training, performing, and competing in the sport of figure skating. As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of Texas…and eventually, you can’t take the girl out of Texas. I moved back to Dallas in December of 2015 after completing my degree in Computing and the Arts at Yale University, eager to start my art career. Coming back meant re-integrating with Dallas as an adult in a very different way than how I knew it as a kid. I’ve been very excited by the advancements in urbanism, arts and intercultural community in Dallas across the last 15 years. The new Cultural Plan is incredibly promising. The opportunity seems to only be growing here. And I believe that’s because of the sense of agency available to all ages in Dallas right now. Dallas instilled my work ethic of ‘make it happen’ and ‘if you can’t see the ceiling, then work as if there isn’t one’. And at the same time, the continuous changes in arts funding here are a challenge to keep up with while still maintaining a laser focus on my own artistic practices and goals. Dallas is also challenging as an artist due to the focus on commerce as a success. Making good art means staying focused on making rather than counting sales, which can threaten individual vision with that of market forces. I often find myself meditating on where my thoughts are before setting my project priorities in order to ensure I stay in the mentality of an artist and don’t blindly slip into that of shop keeper and product manager.
Where did you find the inspiration for View-quet?
The inspiration for View-quet came from the practice of algorithm on curves that I started in 2013 after completing an incredibly challenging course in Computational Vision and Biological Perception. That practice became an exploration that started with lines as I experienced them etched into ice and now in View-quet, it takes the form of pen doodle flowers.
What’s your favorite museum or gallery in the world and why?
Punta Della Dogana in Venice, Italy because it’s the dichotomy of old and new; an important historical building in an incredibly unique setting with breathtaking views, internally renovated with cutting edge architecture and contemporary, experiential art. My second favorite is the Leonardo Di Vinci Science Museum in Milan, Italy because of the interactivity of their exhibitions — something I also greatly appreciate about the Dallas Museum of Art.
What’s your favorite spot on Henderson Avenue?
There are so many great food spots on Henderson Avenue! Too many to choose between, in fact, so I’m going to say my favorite spot is the Reformation dress shop. I love their skirts. And of course, if you’re on Henderson Avenue, you should stop in at the Art on Henderson Gallery next to Houndstooth and consume some great art.
Learn more about Jennifer Wester and her art here.