The lumber room and the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, are proud to announce the publication of Confessions, internationally recognized artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ pictorial reader.
Designed by Gary Robbins in close collaboration with Hutchins and book designer Heather Watkins, Confessions is a visual and material digestion of the artist’s interests, artistic methodologies, and studio environment. The book’s images and texts developed slowly as the team investigated the many layers of ephemera, objects, and artworks in Hutchins’ studio, photographing the process along the way. Confessions was printed one sheet at a time, allowing Hutchins to bring each folio back to her studio to rework and interpolate up to the final printing and assembly deadline. This experimental process allowed Hutchins to create a pictorial reader that is as layered and improvisational as her celebrated sculptures and collages.
The title references Huchins’ deep investment in her work’s ability to form a relationship with the viewer while embodying the self. In the artist’s words: “The confession… is a specific kind of performance, whose sincerity is often questioned and judged, but which presents itself as an effort to clean house… The confession is a performance that your life depends on. It is a grappling with self and other, an always-imperfect but desperate search for truth and belonging through articulation. And amidst all this seriousness, in the struggle and all the nitty-gritty, there also exists the promise of some comic relief.”
The book is an extension of the exhibition Confessions, a collaboration between the artist and two distinctive visual arts spaces: the lumber room, an exhibition and artist residency space founded by collector Sarah Miller Meigs, and the Cooley Gallery, Reed’s intimate academic museum, curated by Stephanie Snyder. Together, the lumber room and the Cooley presented interrelated aspects of Hutchins’ work in response to each venue’s ethos and architecture. Together, Hutchins, Meigs and Snyder sought to offer visitors a rich experiential engagement with Hutchins’ work amidst their shared personal and professional concerns around autonomy, motherhood, experimentation, and community.
Confessions was commissioned by the lumber room and the Cooley Gallery, and printed and bound at Portland-based arts press Container Corps by Gary Robbins. The book was designed by Robbins in close collaboration with Hutchins and Portland artist and book designer Heather Watkins. Confessions is 216 pages, printed offset in full color with spot colors throughout, smyth-sewn and soft-bound in book cloth in an edition of 450. The cost is 45 USD.
About Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ mixed media sculptures, ceramics, prints and works on paper are a curious combination of physical gusto tempered by great fragility. Her works act as containers for a wide range of themes – popular and personal, sad and humorous, but always grounded in the messy business of human relationships. She transforms life into art, creating sculptures and collage from everyday objects and marrying the personal quotidian with a wealth of universal themes.
Hutchins’ references run from Classical form and literature through medieval manuscript to Objectivist poetry. Her work is informed by the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot as much as by news reportage of current events and sporting triumph. The disclosure of her personal life is a further conceptual and formal basis of her work. Her use of everyday personal objects and materials hint at the dramas of love and family, yet she keeps her references oblique and mysterious, allowing formal qualities free rein to create their own abstract and tactile languages.
In 2013 Jessica was included in the 55th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale as part of Massimiliano Gioni’s Il Palazzo Enciclopedico / The Encyclopedic Palace. Past group exhibitions include the 11th Lyon Biennale: A Terrible Beauty is Born (2011); The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); Kurt, The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington (2010); Dirt on Delight, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2009); An Expanded Field of Possibilities, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, California (2009).
Hutchins had her first solo museum presentation in the UK at The Hepworth Wakefield, which travelled to CentrePasquArt, Kunthaus Centre D’art, Biel/ Bien in Switzerland for the summer of 2013. She has previously had solo exhibitions at White Columns, New York, the ICA Boston, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
Hutchins’ work is in public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins was born in Chicago in 1971. She gained her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. Hutchins had her first solo exhibition in Europe at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London in October 2010. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon. – (www.timothytaylorgallery.com)