Kerry Jameson: Unbounded / Marsden Woo Gallery, London
November 7 – December 21, 2013
Kerry Jameson’s new sculptures have an emotional charge that is presented through a mix of narrative set pieces, tableaux and individual figures. Subjects include historical events and the exploits of folkloric and storybook characters. She derives inspiration from an equally eclectic range of sources, which include portrait paintings, the figures of British myth such as the Burryman and Wicker Man, the work of animator Ray Harryhausen, a fascination with the polychrome religious sculptures of 17th century Spain and the toy collections of the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. She explains: ‘A work starts with a thought or feeling, an undigested experience that needs to be worked through.’
She says: ‘I want to capture life in my work, a sense of movement, the feeling of something living… a constant state of transition.’ This ambition is experienced inthe faintly disquieting feeling that one of her figures might just spring into action. It is also apparent in the attention she gives to keeping the material qualities of a piece ‘alive’. Dissatisfied with the seeming permanence of fired clay, she adds layers and detail through the use of other materials to create nuanced effects. In addition to the ceramic base, components of a figure can be hessian, canvas, wool, fur, wood, paint, seeds, stones and sometimes hyper-real glass eyes.
Each of the works is either an imaginative exploration of a possibility or reflects on some human idiosyncrasy. In this world part-animal/part-human characters abound. Scenes from the past are also played out, as in her battle sequence based on Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg – representing a famous military blunder of the American Civil War – thereby reflecting on how misplaced human confidence can override logic and reason. With reference to both her subject matter and approach, Jameson admits to an interest in ‘things that aren’t quite right’ and to ‘things that happen on the boundaries’, rather than on firm, fully rational ground. The predominant aesthetic is that of the uncanny – where objects or ideas are recognised as familiar and at the same time experienced as deeply strange.
Words by Tessa Peters
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11:00 – 18:00 and Saturday, 11:00 – 16:00. The nearest tube stations are Barbican, Farringdon or Old Street.
Tel. +44 (0)20 7336 6396
Marsden Woo Gallery
17-18 Great Sutton street
London EC1V 0DN
Above: Kerry Jameson, ‘Unbounded’ installation view, Monkey (incomplete), 2013, Mixed media, 69x48x41 cm. Photo © Philip Sayer, courtesy of Marsden Woo Gallery.