Communication and Construction of Monstrous Embodiment
June 15-16, 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jessica Harrison: Carving, cutting, breaking, shaping, tracing, folding, skinning.

Jessica Harrison's artwork has been the object of adoration for at least one of the conference organisers for going on two years now, ever since first laying eyes on 'Broken', a series of small ceramic figurines that have been, in Harrison's words, 'modified, revealed and reshaped to show a soft and fleshy interior underneath the brittle and fragile skin.' But the grotesque beauty of Sophia, Emily, or Caroline is just one example of Harrison's sensuous engagement with the monstrosity of 'the body in space, the space within the body and the space in-between the two.'
Caroline, 2010;

Harrison describes her work as an attempt to 'examine how we can go beyond the traditional idea of the interior and exterior with some skin in-between, to explore a complex chiasm of surfaces and sensations that relate to and transgress one another. Rather than being a stable entity, the body emerges as one that is in constant flux, shifting, stretching, snapping, softening.' This exploration is is embodied in the titles bestowed upon her different series; in addition to 'Broken', Harrison lists 'Holding', 'Slicing', 'Splitting', and 'Looking' amongst her collections. The series 'Holding' is a particularly interesting exploration of sensuality and materiality of objects; Harrison explains on her Facebook page that 'the objects explore the shape of the felt, rather than the visual body.' Constructing intricate miniatures of household furniture based on casts of her own hands, the images connect and elide the objects with the body that gives them form.

Examples of each collection can be found on Harrison's website, where prints of the different series can be ordered; more extensive albums are available on her Facebook page. Images of Harrison's work is featured in the Spring, 2012 edition of Creative Quarterly alongside an interview, and she has upcoming exhibitions in London, Leicester, and Malta; if you are nearby, they would be well worth a visit.

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