Artist Jessica Harrison has created a series of delicate porcelain figurines depicting idealized women in ball gowns, with one glaring difference from the collectibles found in your grandmother’s curio: each sculpture is covered neck to wrist in ornate sailor tattoos.
This juxtaposition is not unfamiliar territory for Harrison who has created other, much more macabre figures, in the past. The Scotland-based artist recently completed a practice-led PhD funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, where she researched the relationship between interior and exterior spaces of the body, an area of study that is directly reflected in her artwork.
Harrison proposes a multi-directional and pervasive model of skin as a space in which body and world mingle. Working with this moving space between artist/maker and viewer, she draws on the active body in both making and interpreting sculpture to unravel imaginative touch and proprioceptive sensation in sculptural practice.
In this way, Harrison re-describes the body in sculpture through the skin, offering an alternative way of thinking about the body beyond a binary tradition of inside and outside.