Through her practice Jessica Rath has examined how human containment of the land effects non-human species from the propagation of agricultural plants to the sensoria of bees. In 2014 she received the California Community Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship and grants from the Reed Foundation, Metabolic Studios, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation for her solo exhibition A Better Nectar. Based on the symbiosis between bumblebees and the plants they pollinate, this traveling exhibition originated at the University Art Museum, California State University-Long Beach, CA in 2015 and traveled to The College of New Jersey and Stetson University, Deland, Florida. The research and collaborations behind the work are the subject of a 96-page catalog.
Recent exhibitions include The Oscelots of Foothill Boulevard with Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood (Pitzer College Galleries, 2016) and take me to the apple breeder (Jack Hanley Gallery, 2012; Pasadena Museum of California Art, 2012; Perlman Teaching Museum, Carleton College, 2013). take me to the apple breeder, based genetic work at Cornell University Agricultural Research Station, garnered reviews in Art in America, Artforum, Xtra Contemporary Art Quarterly, and LA Times; articles in Bon Appetit, Garden Design, Smithsonian Magazine and Treehugger; and interviews by KCRW’s Good Food (radio) and Columbia University’s Venue blog among others.
In 2018, Rath received a Faculty Project Grant from Art Center College of Design for research in the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan. Her other awards include the City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship, Center for Cultural Innovation Artistic Innovation grant, Durfee Foundation ARC grants, a MTA Metrolab Commission, and the Bridge Residency Award from Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA. Her work is included in the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability and the Center for Art and Environment Archive Collections. She currently teaches at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA and received her B.A. in Sociology from University of Missouri and her M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts.