about

i create art through an intuitive process often reflecting on humanity's tumultuous relationship with Nature (our home/our selves), the con(temporary) world, and personal transformation. With no attachment to preconceived ideas, techniques or tools, pieces begin without sketches and are called done based on feeling, but seemingly finished work has the potential to continue on at any time, with pieces usually being drastically changed as connections once found in them no longer feel relevant, or sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

Living in the pacific northwest, i've unintentionally experienced a Nature that, while in a form that may pale in comparison to what once was, i feel still retains a vestige of what Frederick W. Turner called in his book Beyond Geography a "truly unimproved natural setting."
A space where, "surrounded by the immemorial phenomenal world, whether trees, ocean, or the waves of prairie grasses, a change may overtake us, precisely to the extent that we are willing to remain where we are and resist what will be gathering temptation to return to more certain comforts. It will not quite be fear, but it will be next to this: a kind of existential humility born of a sense of all the life that surrounds and includes us and that will go on without us."

Henry David Thoreau described having felt this during his night with "the light that dwells in rotten wood," when he said, "It made a believer of me more than before. I believed that the woods were not tenantless, but choke-full of honest spirits as good as myself any day, - not an empty chamber, in which chemistry was left to work alone, but an inhabited house, - and for a few moments I enjoyed fellowship with them."

Confronted with this experience myself over and over again in various ways, a daily question for me is, what is to be done with these feelings in modern times? A time where i see beauty all around fragmented and distorted, contradictions caused by corrupted conditions; sight filtered through a melancholy kaleidoscope.


contact: jesse@jessenarens.com
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available work can be found at riversea gallery, yard dog art, antler gallery, and by email.


inspirations/links
read/see/hear/support...

Henry David Thoreau, Walking
"My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant."

Teagan White, Outsider Naturalist/Artist

Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers & Tides part 1 part 2
"We often forget that we are Nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to Nature, we've lost our connection to ourselves."

Diego Stocco, Music from a Tree & Experibass

Keith Rowe, Prepared Guitar

Portland Child Art Center
PCAS is deeply committed to the enriching process of making art over the product that is created. A teacher at PCAS does not direct the children to make art in any specific or 'right' way, nor do we pass judgment on what the children create. A teacher's role at PCAS is to be a resource to the students; introducing new art materials, discussing ideas and themes within art, and demonstrating new art techniques while supporting the students in making the art they want to create. With a growing knowledge of the studio materials and tools, and using the magic of their imaginations, students are able to bring their own stories to life in their art practice. It is this connection between information, exploration, and imaginative directive that creates a powerful learning experience, leading the children to become knowledgeable, confident, and independent both inside and outside the studio environment.