Two Weeks/Two Works: Jessica Jackson Hutchins
By Daniel J Glendening
The second installment of Fourteen30’s Two Weeks/Two Works series features “Cursive,” 2012, and “Daily Sickness,” 1999, from Jessica Jackson Hutchins. “Cursive” is a 63″ x 49″ work composed of burlap, the stretched brown surface mottled and stained with blue-green pigment and streaks of deep umber. Woven through the burlap in primarily horizontal bands are five strips of cloth in various colors, some of which retain markers of their previous form as clothing: a sleeve hem in a brown and white floral pattern; a pink, white and green strip of child’s swimming suit. Across the bottom is a band of synthetic ivy leaves and vines, a creeping plastic rhizome. There’s something to “Cursive” that offers a shifting perspective: one moment a landscape, the ivy and brown toned cloth offering up a horizon line as cloth-clouds populate a blue tinged sky, then a perspective from above, torn and lost garments strewn across a dirty ground, and, in both, an implied yet not fully formed body. There is an absence, a lack, the figure/ground equation left off balance and unfulfilled, and something or someone is missing or, perhaps as implied by the work’s title, running.
The counterpart to “Cursive” here is “Daily Sickness“, a 9″ x 12″ collaged work on paper: a small thumbnail-sized smear of yellow ochre oil paint bleeds out, forming an arc of golden halo, into a small white piece of paper taped to a yellowing sketchbook page. Here there is a malady of mind or body that is as sure as the rising sun: a ritual of age, a ritual of struggle. Between the completion of “Daily Sickness” and “Cursive” is a span of thirteen years, the former dated 1999: precursor to the new millennium, the anxieties of social media, and the ubiquitous conversation about the speed of change. This is, perhaps, not a rising sun but a setting sun, a shedding of old habits and doubts in hopes of something new. The implied body becomes a temporal body: rather than the body of sweat and fluid and mass present in Ruiz’ installment we have here a body unbound, shedding—moving through time unfettered, running.