Meticulously and painstakingly created over months, it is still the flaws and imperfections in her work that intrigue the artist Jessica Harrison. Her work, rooted in the performance of making and viewing the sculpture, addresses the incorporation of the viewer’s body into the process of making.
We have been talking to artist Jessica Harrison about some of her past projects; understanding and probing the ideologies surrounding the iconic ‘Painted Ladies’….
I was looking at your participation in The Stone project, a body of work you completed in 2009; it seemed to be a challenging project to work on. Did it inspire or perhaps set in motion any of your future works?
When thinking along the lines of altering the female body for artistic subversion, a whole range of feminist artistic practices come to mind, particularly those of female artists creating body art during the height of second wave feminism.
Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints–face), 1972
Watch Jessica Harrison talk about her three month long residency in Oisterwijk, Netherlands.
Jessica Harrison’s work has been widely accepted as iconic and subversive, aggressive and gory, beautiful and transcendent. Her work has inspired a great amount of press over the years, read a selection below:
The Skinny- Jessica Harrison Feminist Figurines
“The thing about these figurines is they’re these beautiful ladies with their impossibly fair skin and their worry free expressions and their buoyant skirts, but they’re hollow and empty; I wanted to turn them inside out and expose that hollowness,”
After completing a practice led PHD in sculpture from Edinburgh University; Jessica Harrison now teaches and practices at the university.
Harrison’s practice is redolent of the once idealised image of the feminine beauty. Focusing on her ‘Painted Lady’ series, her work primarily takes icons and images of popular culture, for example, a ceramic porcelain figurine and first reduces the objects original colouring, before applying layers of thick paint to carve and etch a new identity for each figure.