Jacquie Maria Wessels was born in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, and presently lives and works in Amsterdam. Wessels started her photographic career in 1981 in Brussels where she worked for two years as an assistant at a renowned photo studio. After Brussels, Wessels moved to Amsterdam where she studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam between 1985 and 1990 in the photography and drawing department. During her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Wessels did an exchange program at the Quicksilver Place Academy of Arts in London, focused on painting/drawing. Eventually photography proved to be the best medium for Wessels to express her ideas, nevertheless her photographs have often a painterly beauty.
Wessels has developed into an artist who is active in the field of autonomous and documentary photography and who likes to explore a topic for a longer period of time. Her subjects often serve as a framework for investigating the various social situations and the environment of people. During Wessels studies Social Psychology (2004-2007) at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam and the following years she travelled all over the world to discover new social surroundings.
For Wessels recent series 'Garage Stills' she is looking for traditional car repair garages all over the world. She is fascinated and intrigued by the shapes and colours of the mysterious, to her completely unknown objects she discovers in this wonderful world, dominated by men. With the found attributes she creates still lifes on the spot, which she captures with an analogue camera. Summer 2023, Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi (BE) shows the solo exhibition 'Garage Stills & Fringe Nature' and work from Wessels' 'Garage Stills' series, that are recently acquired by the Rijksmuseum, are on show at the group exhibition 'New Horizons - Contemporary photography at the Rijksmuseum'. In December 2021 the solo exhibition 'Garage Stills' opened at the contemporary art museum PAN | Palazzo delle Arti in Naples (IT). In March 2023 Ludion (Brussels, BE) published the photography book 'Garage Stills & Fringe Nature'.
For the series 'Fringe Nature' Wessels turns her camera outside: in the immediate vicinity of the garages, she is struck by the nature that endures in the harsh, industrial landscapes on the outskirts of the cities. In some cases, rampant nature even takes over and overgrows the garages.
An earlier Wessels project is 'Cityscapes + Birdmen' for which she immersed herself in the fascinating world of tough Surinamese birdmen and made cityscapes in which typical Surinamese murals dominate. Recently, this series was on show in the Photo Route Bijlmer, an outdoor exhibition with 50 large format photographs in Amsterdam and earlier in a solo exhibition in the Surinamese Museum in Paramaribo. In 2010 the series ‘Birdman’ was on show at the PhotoBienniale in Greece in the main exhibition ‘Topos’ and in 2010/2011 it was part of the ‘PhotoBienniale Restrospective’ at the Museum of Photography Thessaloniki in Greece. The series 'Cityscapes + Birdmen' appeared in 2010 in the photo book 'Cityscapes + Birdmen', published by Voetnoot publishers in Antwerp Belgium. The book won two final awards in the international book awards (USA).
Wessels is always looking for new forms to tell her story. Although photography remains the basis of her work, she is not bound by the medium or a two-dimensional surface. Increasingly, she is pushing the boundaries of her artistic practice, combining photography with, for example, drawings or textiles and making three-dimensional installations. Other projects by Wessels include 'Garage Face Installation' (2022), 'Memory Master Tree Installation' (2021), 'Living Spaces' (1999-2009), 'Memory Master' (1988-now), 'Street Portraits' (1996-2009) and 'Eating in Public Spaces' (1994-2020).
The work of Wessels has been exhibited at various locations in the Netherlands and abroad including the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (NL), Musée de la Photographie Charleroi (BE), Vincent van GoghHuis (NL), Photo Route Staatsliedenbuurt Amsterdam - Kunsttraject (NL), Jakarta International Photo Festival 2022 (ID), the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn (NL), POSITIONS Berlin Art Fair (DE), Noord-Hollands Archief (NL), BIG ART (NL), Visserhallen IJmuiden (NL), the contemporary art museum Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli | PAN (IT), MIA Photo Fair Milan (IT), the Amsterdam Bijlmer (NL): outdoor exhibition Photo Route Bijlmer, Photo Basel (CH), the Photography and Visual Arts Festival Encontros da Imagem in Braga (PT), Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo (SR), Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen (NL), Museum IJsselstein (NL), Museum of Photography Thessaloniki (GR), YiPArt Photography auction at Christie’s Amsterdam (NL), PhotoBiennale Greece (GR), Noorderlicht Photo Festival in Groningen (NL), New York Photo Festival (US), Gallery Carte Blanche San Francisco (US), Naarden Photo Festival (NL), Corcoran Gallery Washington (US), Gallery Cultural Speech Amsterdam (NL), Galerie Baudelaire Antwerp (BE), Municipal Museum Arnhem (NL), Amsterdam Municipal Archive (NL), the Historical Museum in Amsterdam (NL) and diverse (inter)national Art Fairs.
Wessels works are in the following collections: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (NL), Musée de la Photographie Charleroi (Belgium), Huis Marseille - Museum for Photography Amsterdam (NL), Vincent van GoghHuis (NL), Surinaams Museum in Paramaribo (Suriname), Province of Noord-Holland Department of Art and Culture (NL), District Westerpark Amsterdam (NL), Municipal Archives of Utrecht (NL), Municipal Archives of Amsterdam (NL), Humanitas Foundation (NL), RCA Amsterdam (NL), Galerie Baudelaire Collection (BE), Amsterdam SBK (NL) and various private collections.
Her work was granted by the Amsterdam Fund for Art & Municipal Archives of Amsterdam: Eating in public Places; the Province of North Holland: Living Spaces; the Photography Foundation in Utrecht(SFU): Gardens in Utrecht, and others.