Tarleton’s Clyde H. Wells Gallery of Art hosting exhibition on the famous outlaw Jesse James.


Special to Beneath the Surface News


The Department of Fine Arts is proud to present My Jesse James Adventure, by Colette Copeland, which will be on view at the Clyde H. Wells Gallery of Art at Tarleton State University from Aug. 24 through Sept. 19.

Copeland is a multi-media visual artist, arts educator, social activist and cultural critic/writer based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, whose work examines issues surrounding gender, death and contemporary culture. My Jesse James Adventure is an inventive multimedia installation piece, which centers around her research of her infamous ancestor-- the notorious outlaw Jesse James.


The exhibition includes a 22-channel video installation, framed solar plate etchings, as well as an original musical score composed by Dallin B. Peacock and an original audio guide featuring acclaimed Dallas actor Ike Duncan.

Copeland’s fascination with Jesse James stems from childhood family lore; tales of her blood kinship to the notorious outlaw Jesse James.


Her great-great-grandmother’s 2nd husband Billy James was Jesse and Frank James’ first cousin. Over the past three summers, the artist traveled to the sites where Jesse James lived and outlawed, filming and leaving her DNA in the form of a lock of hair at each site.

The performative journey/quest spanned 9 states and over 4000 miles.


The project addresses the cultural mythos of criminals, specifically how the icon Jesse James was/is presented and commodified in books, films, comics and historical sites, as well as the current and problematic fascination with DNA networks such as ancestryDNA.com.

Copeland’s artistic work has been exhibited in 25 solo exhibitions and 143 group exhibitions/festivals spanning 35 countries.


The exhibit is free.


Copeland will be participating in a public lecture at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, in the gallery.