College of the Redwoods announced in a press release that sculptures donated by Jesse Albrecht were presented for initial viewing during the Veterans Appreciation Coffee, an event sponsored by the CR President’s Office and the CR Veteran Resource Center to honor the veterans of the CR campus community for Veterans Day.
CR received the donation of Albrecht’s work and honored those who have answered the nation’s call to military service, the press release stated.
The two ceramic sculptures on display in the Administration/Student Services building entitled Welcome Home and The Parades Didn’t Seem to Help Much are from a series of six that were made in 2008 while Albrecht was a visiting artist at College of the Redwoods. Albrecht spent two days making it with CR students in the art department. He gave a public lecture about his life and work. Albrecht has generously donated these sculptures to the College of the Redwoods. His work is also in the collections of Yale University, Harvard University, Stanford University, the Smithsonian Museum of Art, the National Archives and the Library of Congress.
Jesse Albrecht grew up in a small Wisconsin town. At family gatherings he heard bits and pieces about relatives fighting at Tarawa, Pearl Harbor, New Guinea, and Vietnam. Albrecht joined the National Guard at nineteen. “I couldn’t resist any longer the need to understand first-hand what being a soldier was really like,” he said.
At the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire he majored in ceramics. In 2000 Albrecht moved to Iowa City, Iowa, to pursue an MFA in ceramics at the University of Iowa. Transferring National Guard units, Albrecht was re-classified as a combat medic. He was walking to an advanced life drawing class on September 11, 2001. Halfway through his MFA he was deployed to Iraq with A Co 109th Area Support Medical Battalion and attached to the 101st Airborne (AirAssault) Division as an emergency medicine Non Commissioned Officer.
In addition to treating combat and non-combat patients, Albrecht ran many convoys around Mosul and Northern Iraq without the ceramic plates for the body armor that would stop bullets.
Albrecht said, “Returning home was a surreal experience and the transition was rough at times. Returning to graduate school allowed art to capture the overwhelming cultural, mental, and physical experience of Iraq.”
Albrecht currently lives in Bozeman, Montana. He works in a media inclusive manner. He is a participant in the collaborative art group Paintallica and a hang-around of the Combat Paper Project.