Jessica Harrison - Painted Lady 14

Found ceramic, enamel paint. Courtesy the artist (and University of Edinburgh). Photo Chris Park.

Jessica Harrison - Painted Lady 16

Found ceramic, enamel paint. Courtesy the artist (and University of Edinburgh). Photo Chris Park.

Painted Lady (14, 15, 16, 27, 28)

Found ceramic, enamel paint, 2015.

Courtesy the Artist and University of Edinburgh. Photo: Chris Park.

Jessica Harrison’s works more often than not represent women, however, the work is less about body politics and more about the formal, conceptual readings of the skin. In this series of ‘painted ladies’, Harrison scrutinises perceptions of beauty and gender identity; juxtaposing an insipid femininity with the rebellious individuality associated with early tattoo culture.

Harrison acquires existing objects - in this case, traditional Doulton figurines - and meticulously alters them to transform their signification. The mass-produced, homogenous ladies are offered a new distinctive and unique lease of life. Each tattoo is symbolic to the artist and their designs reference templates used at The Black Eye Barber Shop, an early twentieth-century tattoo parlour in the Bowery, New York.

Jessica Harrison

Working with a wide variety of materials, from ceramics and marble to paint and digital collage, Jessica Harrison’s (b.1982) practice explores the mechanics of perception and the fallibility of observation through an examination of the interaction between the visual and the tactile.

Her Interest lies in how we handle, interpret and navigate materials, objects and space and how this process can define the shape of the body. The things she makes propose a re-imagining of these definitions, offering an alternative shape to our perception of things, using the simplicity of materials to explore the complexity of the sensory body.