The halls of the State Capitol are a little more colorful than usual these days, thanks to the North Dakota Council on the Arts.
Every three months, the group exhibits a different local artist’s work in various offices around the capitol.
And right now through the end of September, you’ll find the creations of 32-year-old Jessica Wachter.
“I have an idea of what I want to create a lot of times when I come to the canvas,” she says. “And then there’s times that the canvas and I are in a dance, and it evolves, and I’m turning the canvas upside down or sideways.”
The Bismarck native has made a splash in the art world for her works of abstract expressionism. Or, in other words: “I’m not telling you what to see or what to feel. I’m just opening up a door in a different direction,” she explains.
You won’t find anything tangible on Wachter’s canvasses — no portraits or soup cans or landscapes. But she says that’s kind of the point.
“I’m using it through shape and color and texture and line weight,” she says. “My area of specialty is, I know what colors, and what combinations work well together, play off each other.”
Wachter graduated from NDSU with an art degree — and now, when she’s not traveling the country to showcase her work in galleries, she’s in her Bismarck studio following her muse.
“My sanctuary, I call it,” she says. “There’s a peacefulness, there’s a slow pace. And when I’m here, I’m in my studio all the time, every day.”
It takes a lot of time to complete her work. Some paintings measure in at 8 feet tall.
But when the last brush stroke — or finger smear — is made, Wachter hopes that her inspiration will take on a life of its own in the eye of the beholder.
“Giving them a different way to look at our North Dakota landscape, or our colors, or aerial views,” she says. “This all stems from the experience of being here, and it’s really beautiful.”
Jessica Wachter — a colorful creator — is someone you should know.