The skin-toned, sporadically hairy ceramic sculptures crafted by Jason Briggs can be both unsettling and entice one to touch. The artist says he aspires to create things he’s “never quite seen before.” And as for compelling viewers for closer inspection, that’s part of his charge, too: “Though my objects contain strong visual references, I am more interested in the implied tactile ones; the things that stir in me a compulsion to touch,” his statement says. “Beyond other external inspiration lies this basic, primal impulse. 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.”
The top piece, “Peel,” with its varying textures, subtle sexual imagery, and two-tone body, shines as an example of how provocative, compelling, and well, odd the work can seem. When Briggs mixes the clay for the piece, he considers himself more of a technician than artist. He then forms this piece organically, taking several ideas and settling on a couple of them, tethered through his process. On the artist’s website, he breaks down his exact process, including the drying, firing and re-firing, and adding “hair” and other additions. Hair has the utility of being both “commonplace and distasteful,” he says.
Each of the biomorphic sculptures offers a different character or vibe, combining similar elements with dramatic deviations. And each inspires conflicting feelings, though the urge to touch remains consistent.