Jesse Gillespie was raised in Camden, Maine. Growing up, Gillespie absorbed the austere mood muted colors and subtle beauty of his home state — qualities which his work now reflects. Additionally, he found lasting influence in notable local artists Alan Magee and Simon van der Ven.
From Maine, Gillespie attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied painting and received several awards including The J. Henry Schiedt Memorial Travel Scholarship, The Cecilia Beaux Prize for Portraiture, and The Will Barnett Prize for Abstract Art.
Since then, he has lived in Washington, D.C. where his work was shown at the Zenith Gallery as well as Haley Fine Art.
Recently, Gillespie returned to the coast of Maine and now resides in Rockland with his wife, Sarah. His work continues to be influenced by his surroundings, contemporaries and mentors.
In his current body of work, Gillespie has transfigured found objects into his spare aesthetic. His work embraces mystery. Hinting at representation, it is consumed with questions about the process of art and about what it takes to make art.
"Jesse Gillespie possesses an inexhaustible and sophisticated visual imagination. His arresting wall reliefs are sublimely beautiful and deeply mysterious. They need no art-world discourses surrounding them; they embody everything we need to know."
“The fact is, almost everything is funny. You just have to have a way of looking at it.”
— Jerry Seinfeld
When I look at the world in terms of paint, everything is material. The art that affects me most is made of and about ordinary things. Looking at Edward Weston’s photos of shapely peppers, I feel that I am seeing peppers for the first time. It thrills me when something that seems beneath consideration is raised to a revelatory level. A cracked window pane, wavy wood grain, a network of scratches on a sheet of metal – to me, all of these small events look like paintings. My job is to reveal them.