Despite to the sudden cold snap and rainy weather, there was a good turnout for Jessica Webster’s artist talk for her exhibition, Original Skin, at David Krut Projects. She chose to open the talk with a fitting quote, considering her highly intellectual approach to her ‘body’ of work:
“Art has every right to be challenging, referencing, intellectual, intermittently insane and to contain more corpses than a CSI box set.”
Webster went on to question whether art needs to be exclusively conceptual, social or literal. For the artist, it all comes down to form; ideas and meaning tend to arise through form and content. At this point, she took the chance to introduce her high school art teacher, Rose Deary, whose main focus in art is the understanding the texture and colour of the form. Webster went on to explain her revelation of learning that in order to get rich tones in the colour of skin, green is used as an undertone. While theoretically heavy, Webster has never forgotten the techniques she learnt in her early years. In addition to this, the performance of imprinting her own body into the ink and the spontaneity of the monotype process were highly beneficial to the outcome and interpretation of the work.
Webster is largely influenced by modern art. Her work delves into the importance of the medium and surface. She spoke about her concerns around originality and the significance of the role of the artist, particularly with reference to art in the latter part of the 1960s. This questioning of the originality of art and the degree to which the artist need to be involved in the artmaking process drove her to use the title Original Skin for this show. Looking at her art, there is no question of who created it. Webster acknowledged just how personal the whole exercise was, saying: “Every pore, every crease and hair becomes embarrassingly evident.”
The show will run until the end of this month. For more information, please contact the gallery on 011 447 0627 or email [email protected]