Renowned contemporary sculpture and collage artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins spoke in an artist lecture held in the Health and Social Services building on New Mexico State University’s main campus Nov. 7.
According to the art department, Hutchins’ work has been displayed in galleries around the world including The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, The Saatchi Gallery in London, UK, The Grimm Gallery in Amsterdam, NL and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.
The artist, based out of Portland, Oregon, works with several mediums including printmaking, papier-mâché, ceramics and cardboard materials like beer cases. She also uses large furniture pieces like chairs, couches and tables in her sculptural pieces. She said she makes her work “out of stuff in the room.”
“It’s really about just kind of noticing the things around me and getting curious and then finding how they might be useful,” Hutchins said.
The artist used this type of inspiration she came across an out of tune grand piano no one had a use for.
“[The piano] is a gorgeous shape, and so I started making woodcut prints on the piano – I just carved into the piano and printed over it,” she said.
Hutchins mentioned how the first set of woodcut prints she made were on her kitchen table with Japanese woodcut tools. However, the carvings “felt too pictorial and kind of sweet.”
“I didn’t want to be making a picture, I wanted to have an aggressive relationship with the audience. So I mostly used a router [on the piano],” Hutchins said.
Along with using furniture, Hutchins creates wearable ceramic pieces. A live performance of dancers donning her wearable ceramic pieces will be presented at the University Art Museum’s inaugural exhibit February.
When asked about how she keeps her work fresh and new, the artist said “paying attention to the accidents that your failures give you, or…the change in time management.”
She spoke about how when she became a mother her work changed for the better, and not only because she had to manage her time differently.
“My kids really exploded my work into really good ways,” Hutchins said. “I moved to Portland, Oregon, from New York City and had kids and my work got, I think, much more interesting. And for me, I think it was the injection of joy, which I had never felt before.”
Hutchins work will be on display in the University Art Museum’s opening exhibition Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020. The exhibit will open on February 28th, 2020 at the NMSU Art Museum located at 1308 East University Ave.