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Jessica Jackson Hutchins, The Exponent of Earth (You Make Me)

Derek Eller Gallery
615 West 27th Street, 212-206-6411
May 15 - July 3, 2008
Reception: Thursday, May 15, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

In her third solo show at the gallery, Jessica Jackson Hutchins uses video, sculptural assemblage and ceramics to explore intimacy, compassion, and human frailty. The title of the exhibition is taken from two disparate sources reflecting some of the values in her work: the personal and the punk. “The Exponent of Earth,” is the last line from an Emily Dickinson poem circa 1864 that was also part of Hutchins’ wedding vows, while “You Make Me,” was famously written on the chest of Richard Hell on the cover of his 1970s punk album, “Blank Generation.”

In two sculptural works, an armchair and a loveseat with plaster forms suggest a mother’s body or a domestic landscape. They cradle handmade functional ceramics, as if offering the possibility of intimate exchanges. In another, a rocking horse seems to run endlessly on a piece of glitter-strewn astro-turf, a remnant from her daughter’s birthday party, suggesting the monotony and extravagant beauty of childhood and suburbia.

Like her sculptural works, the video Sun Valley Road Trip embodies a sense of both the monumental and the intimate and personal. Consisting of 40 minutes of virtually unedited footage of a family road trip from Idaho to Oregon in 2006, it depicts the monotony and overwhelming emotion and frenetic energy of family. Like many of Hutchins’ videos, it is both a formal composition and a casual document of family life (the home movie). Time is revealed as something geologic and sublime but also concrete in the eyes of Hutchins’ toddler.

Also on view will be a bronze sculpture and a series of relic like objects on ceramic pedestals that personify the frailty of the world in both appearance and in the underlying process. For example, the work Iranian World 12th Century Ewer – Into the Present was originally a paper and wire sculpture inspired by a piece of Islamic pottery. After being covered in clay, the object was placed in a kiln, where the paper and wire were burned away, leaving their imprint in the texture of the finished ceramic as cracks and fissures. What could be seen as flaws become integral to the final work, and celebrated for their own aesthetic beauty. The work entitled Accidents in Bronze is actually a bronze cast taken from a similarly created ceramic sculpture that had subsequently sustained two unintended breakages. The final bronze statue serves as a memorial to the imperfect but essential journey by which it came into being. As with Iranian World 12th Century Ewer – Into the Present, the artist sutures the flawed force of ancient history to her own.
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