Philadelphia artist Jesse Harrod creates sculptural installations from materials that have been traditionally considered craft-based such as fabric, wall paper, sequins, and beading. Harrod says she creates her sculpture from “brash, colorful, and lowbrow materials that are conventionally associated with hobby crafts and domesticity.” Much of Harrod’s materials are found and re-purposed “to challenge our associations of appropriate and inappropriate materials and techniques for art-making.”
The use of the discarded also underscores Harrod’s interest in gender and identity. She likens disposable objects with people who are marginalized based on their identity. Harrod has stated that her use of found, hobbyist materials “signals how, when transformed, they can take on personalities, behaviors, and attitudes irreducible to human feeling or character.”
Harrod also embraces accumulation both in her work and in her extensive research and writing about identity and the history of the materials that she uses. She said that “one thing that is exciting about fibers in contemporary art is that it brings all of its history with it and that includes labor, race, class, technology, domesticity, activism, performance, and much more.”
There is an overwhelming beauty to Frosted Pink Lipstick – a sculpture with an alluring density of patterns, colors, and textures. Harrod’s work is multi-layered in its materiality and concept -- some will see beauty, some will see the labor-intensive quality of the work, and some will see Harrod’s underlying concepts regarding gender and identity.