Jessica Harrison


Working with a wide variety of materials from porcelain and paint to marble and digital collage, Harrison's practice is based on a long-term exploration of the fluctuating relationship between the body and the space/things around it. How we handle, interpret and navigate materials, objects and space defines the shape of the body, and in turn, the shape of the body defines our interpretation of the space/things around us. With the acceleration of technological advancements in day-to-day life, definitions of the body are shifting and changing at an ever-increasing rate. The things Harrison makes explore a re-imagining of these definitions, as part coping mechanism, part learning strategy and part suggestion of an alternative shape to our perception of things.

Harrison's practice is hinged on a fundamental fallibility of the body and types of knowledge that can be generated through mistakes and inexperience. She has a particular interest in the fallibility of observation and the gap between the seen and the felt, the visual and the tactile. This is the space in which her sculpture, and perhaps all sculpture, is situated - as something that happens in-between and amongst the body and objects, a part of both, but neither fully one nor the other.

To negotiate this space, Harrison's research often looks to the interaction between the maker and the viewer and the overlaps that can occur between these roles. By following mistakes in both concept and in craft she unfolds the space between maker and viewer, object and image, background and foreground, digital and analogue - indefinite spaces where the most interesting things often happen. Mistakes reveal gaps between knowledge and action, between making and viewing, opening up a dialogue between maker and viewer that allows a way into subjects that those with a flawless finish do not have. It is at points of error that as a viewer it is possible to see the body of the maker, and as a maker, where it is possible (perhaps unintentionally) to allow yourself to be seen.This participatory notion of sculptural practice allows an exploration of the body beyond a binary tradition of inside and outside, a structure that still dominates the subject of the body.

 

Biography

Jessica Harrison (b 1982, St Bees, UK) lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland. Harrison graduated from Edinburgh University with a practice-based PhD in Sculpture in 2013, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In 2015 she was artist in residence at the European Ceramic Workcentre in the Netherlands, returning in 2017 to undertake a second residency.

In 2017 Harrison was commissioned by the Jerwood Charitable foundation to create an installation for the exhibition Jerwood Makers Open, which toured the UK in 2107 and 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include Pink, Green, Blue and Black, Galerie LJ, Paris (2016); Broken, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh (2014); and FLASH, Galerie LJ, Paris (2014). Her works are regularly shown in international group exhibitions, including the Banksy curated exhibition Dismaland, The Tropicana, Weston-Super-Mare (2015); CERAMIX, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2015) in collaboration with the Sèvres, Cite de Céramique; Material Earth, Messums Wiltshire, Salisbury (2018); Between Poles and Tides, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2017); Figuriens Fortællinger, Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark, Middelfart (2017); Urnen, European Ceramic Workcentre, Oisterwijk (2017); Un Bal Masqué. XVIIE Sièle at art Contemporain, Le Chateau de Nyon, Nyon (2017); Sexy Ceramics, Keramiekmuseum Princesshof, Leeuwarden (2016); and Body & Soul; contemporary international ceramics, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2013) amongst many others.

Jessica's work is held in numerous public and private collections around the world, including the Princesshof Ceramic Museum (Leeuwarden), the University of Edinburgh Art Collection (Edinburgh), Pallant House Gallery (Chicester), the Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh) and the New Art Gallery Walsall (Walsall).