Jason Briggs’ work is reminiscent of a William Borough’s novel. His figurative and surrealist objects elicit familiarity, intrigue and perhaps a smidgen of WTF. With their strong eroticism, the objects suggestively invite a primal response from viewers to touch the biological and flesh-like forms.
“People are told not to touch, but they do. Perverts.” – Briggs
Above Image: Jason Briggs, Pearl, 2012. Porcelain, hair, nail polish
DesignBoom writes Briggs’ near-permissive work questions the sterility and even eroticism of not being able to have a tactile experience with an artwork.
“I recognize – and act upon – a profound desire to push, poke, squeeze, stroke, caress, and pinch. I intend for my pieces to invoke a similar sort of temptation. Obvious sexual references, along with an extravagant, fetish-like attention to surface, can arouse a yearning to touch as powerful as the act itself.”
Briggs says he draws inspiration from whatever he decides to pay attention to: nature, lips, the wrinkle in a shirt, neck fat — anything that stirs his own compulsion to touch. In doing so, he seeks to create items that challenge the viewer to question the source of their own often emotive responses.
“A sense of unease is critical because it encourages the viewer to consider carefully what they are seeing – at what is compelling them. I would like my work to exist not as the ubiquitous “art object”, but as something more enigmatic – foreign yet familiar, handmade yet somehow organic. Rather than suggest nature, in my own way I am seeking to create it.”
Briggs uses a pure white porcelain to form his objects, which can take anywhere from eight to ten weeks (even more sometimes) to complete. He begins with a loose idea of a form — slender, squat, full, deflated, compact, pregnant, concealed, elongated — shaping as many as five or six parts before assembling a few of them. Briggs then begins his process of mapping out layers and textures — wrapped, squeezed, pinched, snug, loose, erotic, familiar, bizarre, unexpected — before he spends the next several weeks carving and refining to his desired presentation. Once bone-dry, he fires his objects repeatedly at low temperatures with various washes, glazes and even china paints.
Once the firing process is complete, he smooths his forms adding any final elements for additional texture. Briggs says he enjoys using hair calling it “commonplace and distasteful” depending on the context. He says his own eyebrow hairs fit the bill in regards to length and shape to fill the follicle-like orifices he formed prior to firing. He also uses small stainless steel pegs to accentuate tuft-like imagery and even employs soft rubber to plug larger orifices.
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