Living on the Mississippi River, Jeri Ledbetter is inspired and compelled both by nature’s oddities and man-made structures. She is enthralled with the contrast of, and interplay between, industry and nature. “I can pick out something in the walks that I take,” says Ledbetter. “I’m drawn to support systems of lines; to things that have high contrast like nature and industry, together, interwoven. There is something about the bird’s nest next to the chain link fence and telephone wires.” She sees these man-made structures all striving for survival with water, wind, vines, and time. She views her paint and pencil similarly; these natural objects cast by industry, paint the surface of her piece, like wind and water toil against the works of man.
Ledbetter lets her instruments decide the course of her piece; she does not want the involuntary and free hand to be controlled by a plan and scheme. Through her work she allows for the blessing of the unexpected line or stroke embracing the accidental, the surprise. “The only thing you can really do is attack the painting. It’s impossible to sit and think about the painting for a long time because what you’re thinking is not going to occur to the painting,” she explains. “It takes so much energy and a lot of physical work in this process and that physical labor gets you ready to find the little accidents that you’re looking for.”
Jeri Ledbetter is a graduate of the Memphis College of Art. She studied with the acclaimed painter Gregory Amenoff at workshops in both Santa Fe and Provincetown, MA. Other studies include painting with Nathan Oliviera and Fred Burton. From 2000 through 2003, Ledbetter taught drawing at the Memphis College of Art. She currently works and resides in Memphis, TN. She is included in several corporate collections and personal collections nationally and internationally.