The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

April 6, 2014 to September 21, 2014 |

Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Unicorn

Unicorn presents eight works by Jessica Jackson Hutchins, spanning video, sculpture, collage and monoprints, and a new large-scale sculpture.

Hutchins makes use of the things around her—worn clothing, tattered chairs, nicked tables, stained sofas—inserting hand-molded ceramic objects to craft works that make poetry from the mundane and unite the corporeal with the abstract, the relatable with the enigmatic. She shows us that an artist is unmistakably human, and that creative expression is fed by human experience.

In Unicorn and The Key (2010), Hutchins’s own baby grand piano, a quintessential symbol of family time, takes center stage, topped by a ceramic form evocative of a unicorn’s horn. The piano’s exterior is gashed and graffitied, evidencing the origin of several to-scale woodcuts and collaged prints on view.

In ADAM (with Pink Flowers) (2010), the title of the video and its repeating melody, Children of the Sunshine, reads in reverse. The eponymous video portrait, performed by Hutchins, her family and friends, shows how the raw emotive rhythm of daily life is woven into her material. For Finale (2011), the areas gouged from the baby grand are recycled as collaged wood cutouts, pasted near their corresponding absences. For the bench prints, such as Key!! (2010), Hutchins places paper on the inked, incised surfaces, adding collaged paper-pulp to give a two-dimensional plane depth.

Every Man Has his Tastes (2013–14), Hutchins’s newest sculpture, takes its title from a line by the Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi. A stout clay form, a cross between a termite mound and a scholar’s rock, sits upon the dowdy ottoman like a fossil or moon rock specimen; a bowl-like clay form is tucked inside the cushion crease of the matching chair. A painted visual continuity marries the objects forever to the furniture.

Overall, Hutchins confronts us with a pregnant visual language that shoots us up into the star-crossed cosmos and grounds us in the depths of the dark earth—all at the same time.

Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart

Jessica Jackson Hutchins was born in 1971 in Chicago and lives and works in Portland, Oregon.