"Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Unicorn" on view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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"Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Unicorn" on view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Jessica Jackson Hutchins, (b. 1971), Every Man Has His Tastes, 2013-2014. Courtesy of the artist and Timothy Taylor Gallery, London.

RIDGEFIELD, CONN.- The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is presenting Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Unicorn—a focused exhibition that brings together eight works, spanning video, collage, monoprints, and a new large-­‐scale sculpture—from April 6 to September 21, 2014, as part of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins makes use of the things around her—the worn clothing, tattered chairs, nicked tables, stained sofas—by crafting objects that invent poetry out of the everyday, that unite the corporeal with the abstract, the relatable with the enigmatic, she shows us that an artista is unmistakably human, but it is these very human experiences that feed creative expression.

The exhibition title references the unicorn’s horn, a reappearing motif in Hutchins’s oeuvre, representing the merging of the realm of fantasy with the everyday run-­‐of-­‐the-­‐mil life. In Unicorn and The Key (2010), for example, Hutchins’s own baby grand piano, a symbol of family-­‐circle time, stands at center stage. A ceramic form reminiscent of a unicorn’s horn stands on top, highlighting the etched, routed, and graffitied surface, where a series of large-­‐scale wood-­‐cut and collaged prints have been pressed. The keys are colorfully stained and words etched into the piano lid read “Children of the Sunshine,” the name of a song performed by Hutchins’s family and friends in a related video also on view.

Every Man Has his Tastes (2013–14), Hutchins’s newest sculpture, takes its title from a line in a work by the Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi. The dowdy and distressed denim chair and ottoman bear ceramic objects that rest atop or are tucked inside the furniture. A craggy, stout, glossy clay form, a cross between a termite mound and a scholar's rock, sits upon the ottoman like a dug-­‐up fossil or moon rock specimen and a bowl-­‐like clay form is secreted in the chair cushion crease. The earthy tones of the ceramic glaze appear to bleed onto the ottoman and chair, but Hutchins applied paint to créate this visual continuity, marrying the objects forever to the furniture.

Exhibition curator Amy Smith-­‐Stewart says, “The conversations I’ve shared with Hutchins over the past several months have all orbited the significance of those around her and the ‘things’ they share; an evolving history of the stuff accumulated and the layering of the histories of these individual objects to obfuscate time and matter.”

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