13 October – 6 November 2010
Timothy Taylor Gallery is proud to announce the first exhibition outside the US by Portland based artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins, who earlier this year won great critical attention for her contribution to the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and two simultaneous New York gallery exhibitions. Hutchins’ mixed media sculptures, ceramics, prints and works on paper are a curious combination of physical gusto tempered by great fragility. Her works act as containers for a wide range of themes – popular and personal, sad and humorous, but always grounded in the messy business of human relationships. As John Motley comments in Art in America, ‘This is art that embroils itself in the unwieldy psychology of life and family with a high degree of emotional candor and intellectual sophistication’.
Unlike many of her contemporaries working in sculptural assemblage, Hutchins avoids knowing quotations from post-war art movements such as pop art or minimalism, and concentrates instead on a more specifically humanist subject matter. Drawing material from a wide range of sources, from occult beliefs, to sports stars and musical heroes, Picasso’s Blue Period and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Hutchins interests and references are determinedly eclectic and wide-ranging. For this exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery, Hutchins presents a new set of exquisite works on paper, several large scale and medium scale sculptures, as well as a group of large-scale mono-prints.
Hutchins regularly uses her own or found furniture in her work – a process which further underlines the strongly anthropomorphic quality in much of her work. Wedding Present, 2010, is made from two green armchairs – an actual wedding present given to her parents, upon which sits a ceramic vessel. Tantalisingly human in its scabrous physicality, it dents the cushions with its actual weight. Upon the chair’s velvety sides Hutchins’ expressive daubs of plaster and ink hint at a landscape. Her canny use of everyday personal objects and materials hint at the great dramas of love and family, whether as tragedy or farce, yet she keeps her references oblique and mysterious, allowing formal qualities free rein to create their own abstract and tactile languages.
Often turning household objects into print making surfaces, Hutchins here presents a series of prints made from her own grand piano lid. These dramatic large prints have surfaces etched with feathery delicate lines, graffiti-style sexual imagery and obscure texts, combined with an accrochage of textiles, petals, ceramic cups and vases – a poignant rendering of the interplay between popular music, sex and romance.
Hutchins frequently sources imagery of sporting heroes and other figureheads of popular culture where narratives of human endeavour, triumph and tribulation abound. Champions, 2010, is a remarkable large scale ceramic inspired by the image of an ice skating couple, transformed formally and visually into a totemic figure of movement and grace, while the glaze that covers the surface somehow speaks of slow time – it looks like ancient stratified rocks or the marbled surface of a distant planet. As Stephanie Synder (Artforum) observes, the works ‘radiate an intoxicating experimental energy. Hutchins is interested in pure, bare life – in pain and ecstasy’.
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