Jessi Reaves (b.1986, Portland, Oregon) earned her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI in 2009. Her practice centers on sculptures that also operate as furniture, rupturing traditional binaries of the functional and the aesthetic. In 2021, Reaves work was featured in two iterations of the two person exhibition Wild Life: Elizabeth Murray & Jessi Reaves at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas and The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia. In 2020, she was a Teiger Mentor in the Arts at Cornell University. She has a forthcoming solo exhibition at The Arts Club of Chicago in 2023.
At the Well, presented at Bridget Donahue, is a seventeen-piece sculptural exhibition by Jessi Reaves.
The body entire is one of practical efficiency. Count on my help for whatever you need, a cabinet, or, a sculpture alluding to the idea of a cabinet, is propped up mostly by the artist’s Tacoma’s old bumper. The severed arms of a miniature sofa are bound to it with sawdust paste, as it was too small for the dog. The tailgate of the truck found its way into Changing Room Cabinet. The artist is happy to stoop low.
Small Girl Table begins with a relief of a nude woman from behind, some trinket fit for the walls of a lakeside timeshare. The object has been haggled over, acquired, made a mold of, cast many times, cut in half on varying angles, painted with iridescent glosses then assembled into a clawfooted table, or rather, a sculpture alluding to the idea of a clawfooted table. In Fashion collaboration, the saw doesn’t make it all the way through.
Warming Rails Extended (Towel Rack) is funny, first and mainly. Then also, it is vulnerable. In some lights it’s downright salacious, as Changing Room Cabinet is most certainly also. It is womanly. When plugged into a socket, it probably mostly works.
- Zach Baker