Updated: May 4
Excerpt from Sacramento-based couple finds art world success by exploring race, history and mythology by Graham Womack Special to the Bee, April 27, 2023 Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article274090640.html#storylink=cpy
Photo and Video by Cameron Clark for the Sacramento Bee
Sacramento-based couple finds art world success by exploring race, history and mythology
Jessica Wimbley’s hair has a story to tell.
Wimbley, who lives in midtown with her husband and fellow artist Chris Christion, has a piece in the stairwell near Crocker Art Museum’s main entry entitled, “The True Story of Edges.” Anyone who heads from the first floor to galleries on the second and third floor will see two back-to-back videos of Wimbley that highlight the edges of her hairline. “That’s used a lot within the African-American community to denote what your hair texture is,” Wimbley said. “And within this particular video, I’m using my hair as a space for storytelling.” Different images interweave with Wimbley’s Afro in the video. For Wimbley, the story she’s telling is both personal and reflective of the protest movement that’s seen a resurgence in America in recent years, highlighted by the response to George Floyd’s 2020 murder.
It’s only the latest work from Wimbley or her husband, artists who moved together to Sacramento in 2018 and are making names for themselves in both Sacramento and beyond. “The thing I like about Jessica and Chris is that they take what they do really seriously and they’re really invested in it,” said Liv Moe, founder of Verge Center for the Arts, a gallery and creative space near Southside Park.
GETTING TO SACRAMENTO
Before they were husband and wife, a collaborative team and Sacramento residents, Wimbley and Christion were artists. Each began studying painting as undergraduates in the 1990s, with both later earning MFAs in the 2000s. Wimbley is now 43, while Christion is roughly five years older.
Christion’s professor and mentor during his undergraduate days at University of Oklahoma was Edgar Heap of Birds, whose last name reflects his Cheyenne heritage. Heap of Birds remembered his student working often with tactile fabric to make small sculptures. “It was always making his own kind of world that was really provocative,” Heap of Birds said. Christion grew up the son of a pastor and comes across shy, self-effacing and unfailingly polite.