While the tradition of decorative ceramic figurines is filled with beautiful and serene subject, UK ceramic artist Jessica Harrison takes a decidedly darker approach. Her recent ceramic work uses this tradition as a starting point, subverting it through the addition of morbid imagery such as skulls and blood. 19th-century ladies with vacantly blithe expressions hold their own severed, gory-edged head in their lap, gaily dangle their bloody eyeballs above them, and with fleshless, skeletal face recline daintily on a chaise lounge. Such a clever miniature subversion of prim and happy porcelain figurines have a dimension of interest that the traditional harmlessly sweet figurines never possess.
“The things I make are a complex description of simultaneous unmaking and making, deconstructing an object or a body before putting it back together again – this could be interpreted as a violent process, but is often a very delicate and fragile one, a process of transplantation rather than dislocation. The works are an attempt to change the relationship of the object to the body, making visible the invisible, opening up something normally closed, softening a usually hard surface.”