REVIEWS OF THE WORK OF JESSE WAUGH
"I enjoyed seeing your work" "Wonderful"
- Carlos Basualdo, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Philadelphia Museum of Art
"Both emerging and established..."
- William Morrow, Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum
Jesse is a strong central figure within his cohort. He is articulate and highly productive. This dynamic individual is highly committed to analyzing and producing works which his viewing public can recognize as a redefined “new beauty aesthetic” and he has recently attempted to clarify his thinking behind this process in his ‘Pulchrist Manifesto’, which he exhibits with his work as a crucial contextualizing statement.
- Charlie Hooker, Artist and Professor of Fine Art at the University of Brighton, UK
"The image [GALATEA] reminds of me the intents of the pre-Raphaelite… perhaps its emphasis on simplicity and purity."
- Liliana Leopardi, Art Historian, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
“Lucid, erudite and inspiring, Waugh provides us with both a clear concise examination of the fallacies, conformity and impotent nihilism of contemporary Western Art & aesthetics, and a positive means by which we can confine this brief (though profoundly destructive) divergence into ugliness, barbarism and hucksterism to the dustbin of history (said dustbin is no doubt being celebrated in true, over-tired Duchampian fashion, and can probably be found in MOMA, Tate Modern or some other prestigous rogue's gallery)”.
- Gavan Kearney, Artist, Musician and Aesthete (Review of PULCHRISM)
Quote from the book The Sons and Daughters of Los - Culture and Community in L.A. Edited by David E. James, Chapter 9 All Over the Map: A History of L.A. Freewaves by James M. Moran :
Jesse Waugh's El Angel (1995), a parable about the corruption of art and commerce by the onset of greed, chronicles the birth, climax, and death of Los Angeles, personified by the haunting figure of El Angel. Shot like a silent film from cinema's earliest days, using tableaux images and inter-titles rather than continuity editing and dialogue, the work's form illustrates its content: Waugh portrays the birth of Los Angeles by using techniques from the birth of cinema, both of which ultimately would be corrupted by Hollywood's desire for profit.
- David E. James. Sons And Daughters Of Los: Culture And Community In L.A. (Wide Angle Books) (Kindle Locations 2768-2770). Kindle Edition.
I am a personal friend of Mr Jesse Waugh and have had the occasion to participate in his artistic projects. I very much am a fan of Mr Waugh's artistic vision - and this was one of his boldest statements in the Los Angeles cultural scene. Jesse took a blighted block on lower Sunset Blvd and with his FENP Gallery and the art produced there, began to turn that East L.A. block around into a haven for underground culture. My hats off to him for undertaking that successful endeavor.
Derek Scott Graves, Director of Publicity, Star 69 Records
Paul Sbrizzi's Foreward to Jesse's Artist Monograph
I first noticed Jesse Waugh as a young student at L.A. City College in 1995. He would sit in the History of Cinema class, on the right hand side of one of the front rows of the college movie theater, with his roaring twenties-style, buzzed-on-the-back-and-sides, neatly-combed-on-top haircut. When I saw him working at the Temporary Contemporary Art Museum downtown I approached him to model for some photos, not realizing how well my offer fit into his particular style of self-expression.
The intention behind Jesse’s art, while it can’t be pinned down in a few words, has a lot to do with exploring—or a more precise word might be celebrating—the self and the ego. His work is informed by his religious upbringing in a California church with a doctrine based in Hinduism. While riffing on the church’s mythology and iconography, Jesse’s art is in part a howl of dissent against its core ideas, or at least the way they have become codified. There’s a concept I once heard expressed by Guru Singh of Yoga West—one of the pre-eminent American teachers of Kundalini Yoga—that rather than suppressing the ego, we should work to expand it out to infinity, so that it encompasses the entirety of the universe. And that is probably one of the defining principles behind what Jesse strives to express.
He doesn’t interest himself in popular culture, or arguably even in the temporal human experience. His work operates in a dimension populated by gods, angels, the bending of light; a dimension where the beating of a butterfly wing is connected to a nuclear bomb explosion. A piece of fruit, the L.A. River, or Rice, his late, beloved pet dove, are all seen as sort of Biblical entities. His work also seems—heretically for the times we live in—to have little need for an audience. He makes it available to the public, but beyond that it could be seen by thousands of people or one person or no one without causing him much concern.
He operates for the most part well outside of any tradition or movement. He takes his ideas to their—often extreme—logical conclusions on his own, as in his philosophy and practice of fruitarianism. He also doesn’t invite or particularly enjoy dialog about his art, believing principles of truth and beauty (as outlined in his “Pulchrist Manifesto”) to be fixed, or in any case knowable.
There is, in fact, no sense of relativism in Jesse’s work: one of his classic expressions is “Beautiful!” The word shoots out of him like fireworks, with childlike wonder as well as authority and conviction.