by Inigo del Castillo in New Art on Wednesday 18 December 2013

Victorian elegance and sophistication gets a dab of the macabre in Edinburgh-based artist Jessica Harrison’s collectible ceramic ladies. Ok maybe not a dab of the macabre, more of a splash. The ceramic figures are part of Body & Soul: New International Ceramics at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. The exhibit features the human figure in contemporary ceramics.

Her ceramic ladies sport neck wounds, ripped hearts, chopped off heads, and misplaced body parts, all ruining their beautiful dresses.  But you have to hand it to the ladies, they still managed to keep their poise and smile for the camera.

UPDATE: Check out this excerpt from our exclusive interview with Jessica Harrison!

Let’s talk about your grotesque ceramic ladies with severed heads and misplaced body parts. Where did you get the inspiration for this collection? What was the message you were trying to convey here?

That series is called ‘Broken’ as the pieces are made using found ceramics that I have quite literally taken a hammer and chisel to.They present an impossibly fair-skinned ‘perfect’ woman and my attraction to these works was precisely because of this image they portray of the female body – my aim was to counter it and present its opposite within itself. This was simple to do, by breaking apart the hollow cast pieces and ‘revealing’ the interior, a standard formula in Western knowledge for making discoveries about the body. The female interior is a space still laced with taboo in a way that the male interior is not, and for me this gender bias of what is most often an invisible space in our everyday lives was a fascinating and important one to address. This series, like my other works in stone, ceramics, silicone and ink comes from exploring shared ideas about the body, unraveling shared experiences of different spaces, textures and shapes.

Click here for the full interview.