Jessica Harrison’s eviscerate ceramics

‘The macabre’ is an ideology that invokes cultish fascination but often runs the risk of succumbing to the dreaded platitude of cliché-dom.  Art is known to make frequent use and abuse of grotesque horror to shock, provoke, and just for the mere sake of it. Which is totally okay; Art is operating within its rights. But when the macabre becomes predictable and consequently dull, Bizarre is stricken off the adjective list and replaced by Prosaic thus rendering ‘the macabre’ redundant. There are however some artists – and only some – who manage to render into being the perfect blend of ludicrous and gruesome in an intimidating suggestion of offensive eccentricity. Jessica Harrison is one such artist.

She carves, cuts, breaks, shapes, traces, and folds with perfect precision. She takes the ordinary and re-imagines it with a cadaverous twist. Her art is about the body: the body in space, the space within the body and the space in-between the two.

My work is based on physiological, philosophical and psychoanalytical research into the body and its senses, focusing in particular on the role of touch in our experience of objects and in the construction of knowledge; how consciousness and perception are choreographed by the senses and spatial form. – Jessica Harrison

The reason Jessica Harrison’s art is so compelling is because it is surprising and strangely beautiful. Dissected, contorted and assimilated, the human body is transfixed in space via artistic interpretation. The mundane is twisted with perplexing perception and tangible sensitivity resonates from the acute detail comprising Jessica’s charismatic creations. Her art is morbidly magnetic. See for yourself:

Skinning – Sofa, 2009, Mixed Media

Skinning – Table, 2009, Mixed Media

Skinning – High Boy, 2009, Mixed Media

Looking – Blind Spot, 2007, Mixed Media

Looking – Peep Show, 2007, Mixed Media

Tasting – Pram, 2008, mixed media

Shifting – Tastebuds, 2008,mixed media

Shifting – Fingertips, 2008,mixed media

Harrison’s ‘Breaking’ series is magnificent in every way. Eviscerated ceramic figurines – as if Jack the Ripper had been more polite – invade the imagination with absurd authority. In a rebellion against traditionalism, the antiquity of elegantly clad gentlewomen – emphasised by ceramic sophistication – is traumatised by gruesome guts. The exquisite delicacy that reverberates from these pieces is inherent in the grace and the gore that subsumes the sculptures, making them eloquent conversations open to debate, dispute, delight and deference. Revel in the absurdity:

Breaking – Susan, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Charlotte, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Caroline, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Grace Ann, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Mairi, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Fiona, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Georgina, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Rosamund, 2010, mixed media

Breaking – Ruby, 2010, mixed media

To see more of Jessica Harrison’s art, visit