Jesse Harrod

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  Untitled (orange), 66 x 36 x 24 in., Paracord, metal

I produce both large and mid-scale installations and sculptures out of what I call “femmy detritus”: brash, colorful, and lowbrow materials – including sequins, fringe, and sculpey – conventionally associated with hobby crafts and domesticity.

Foregrounding questions of gender, queerness, and their intersections, my work tracks the affective and cultural circulation of meaning through which particular materials – and the bodies with which they are associated – become designated as “trash” and “waste.”

Across my practice, I show how these discarded materials can be re-purposed on behalf of insurgent imaginations of queer-feminist survival. 

I transform materials to animate their sexual and sensual qualities, for example, by crafting penile and labial arrangements that perform and interrupt normative gender conventions. Pointing to the convergences but also the divergences between “disposable” objects and “disposable” people, my work additionally registers the vibrancy of materials and signals how, when transformed, they can take on personalities, behaviors, and attitudes irreducible to human feeling or character. I therefore view my sculptural works as inhabitants of dynamic queer communities that offer new ways of being, knowing, and relating.

My work employs a maximalist aesthetic to convey the enormity and messiness of feeling in the face of the political structures that confine queer bodies. For this reason, I tend towards a direct form of address. Indeed, I want my installations to scream at you much like the prototypical 1970s feminist screams at you. In so doing, my work builds on and augments histories of queer-feminist militancy in artistic production.

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