Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s art lets it all hang out. Her ceramics stretch across old furniture, entwine with household objects and mutate like lovers at the end of a hard day. Upholstery is ripped, plastered in newsprint collage or dowsed in paint. She even includes her family’s old clothes: fuzzed and worn shirts, faded old sweaters.
“I want the work to have this real intimacy, but it’s more about universals than portraits,” she said on the evening of the opening of her latest exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery in London. “It’s really about the condition of being a human being, being useful, being worn with the body, than anybody’s specific body.”
The show features the hybrids of furniture and ceramics that established the artist as one of the most engaging and idiosyncratic rising stars of recent years but also reveals her brand new foray into large-scale paintings. Here gauzy sheets of linen veil the pigment-stained window-like frames they’re stretched over. The fabric itself is daubed with thick, matted pigment or vaporous stains of yellow and green, or ripped to reveal further layers.
In La Gaîté lyrique a cotton blouse with a Moorish pattern of ochre and jade peeks through torn fabric. “It’s named after the venue my husband [the musician Steven Malkmus] was playing in in Paris, the weekend he got that shirt for me,” she explained of the title.
The ceramics too have had a growth spurt, partly inspired by the outsize African masks collected by Jackson Hutchins’s mother, an art historian who died when she was a child. “Some of my earliest memories are of making up dances with her African ritual objects,” she recalls. “There was an antelope that was a headdress but it was huge and impossible to wear. I’d recently been thinking about wearable ceramics too.”
SAP, a faded sofa whose tired fabric has split to reveal a flirtatious sliver of bright pink, has a big ceramic oval draped across its back like a giant collar. In Two Hearts, old T-shirts, one bearing a love-heart pattern, are pinned to an armchair by an earthy-hued ceramic that similarly might be a mantel – or a harness.
One of Hutchins’s most appealing features is this warts-and-all embrace, her acknowledgement through hand-molded clay, worn clothes and tattered furniture, of life’s chaos and cares, the pressures and pleasures of relationships. “I really decided I wanted a rock n roll pleasure which is sensuous, gross and guttural but also kind of beautiful and catchy,” she said. “And I wanted it to be able to exist like an epic, that keeps you coming back.”
Jessica Jacskon Hutchins is on exhibit at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London through March 8th, 2014, timothytaylorgallery.com