Broken Bones and Painted Ladies: The Art of Jessica Harrison
Remember those porcelain figures your grandparents always seemed to have on the mantelpiece? Jessica Harrison‘s painted ladies are NOTHING like those.
The work of Jessica Harrison, a Scottish artist and sculptor, draws the contrast between comme il faut Victorian decorum and ripper-esque gore in her installation Broken: Alexa is a beautiful Edwardian lady who lost her head to the guillotine; Imogen ripped out her own eyes after seeing another woman with her lover; Roberta tore off her face to spite those who told her she wasn’t beautiful enough. We like to think that, in our old age, these will sit on our mantelpieces in place of those other, fully-formed, organ-containing bitches.
Harrison’s lives and works in Edinburgh, UK, and has produced works of art both nationally and internationally. Although best known for her installation Broken (2014), Jessica was also involved in the Dismaland installation alongside artists such as Banksy in 2015, and Pink, Green, Blue, and Black (2016) in Paris. While predominantly working with clay, Harrison also utilizes found objects, paper, fabric, and stone in many of her works.
Her installation Broken provides a contemporary explanation of her views on art through a medium tactile to any modern woman: “Through clay the figure becomes the catalyst for addressing the emotional impact of contemporary pressures that confront our society today.” As such, Jessica has also created Painted Ladies, an installation that focuses on conceptual readings of the skin; by altering Royal Doulton figurines, Harrison aims to create a new “skin” and thus a new concept for each model.
Jessica has described her work as “focusing on the division between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the interior and the exterior, and the fearful and the feared … the work is the result of a guilty surveillance, an observation of that which is private, a peep show of anxiety.”
Although her porcelain is currently unavailable to purchase, prints are available at her website, which are just as beautiful and considerably less likely to be broken. Also for sale are lithographs and limited edition blood, bone, and muscle silk scarves which we are simply dying to wear.
Featured images courtesy of Jessica Harrison.