Manchester Art Gallery

New acquisition: Work, by Leah Jensen

Now on display in gallery 7, Leah Jensen’s porcelain vessel Work, represents 103 hours of work by the artist.

Jensen made this vessel in response to Ford Madox Brown’s painting Work. Her process involved first hand coiling and forming the vessel. Following this she surrounded the unfired pot with paper reproductions of Brown’s painting and pressed dozens of pins through the paper into the clay at points of visual and narrative interest in the painting. Through this process of remapping the original work onto a new form Jensen establishes marker points which themselves become the guides for the facets which she carefully carves with a scalpel. Jensen’s carving transforms Work’s composition into an abstract pattern, not unlike a digital code. The surface looks 3D printed but it is in fact the result of days of careful, precise labour by hand.

There’s something circular in the relationship between this process and the message-laden painting by Brown, both in their different ways celebrate the virtue of hard work, the work of the hand in particular. Jensen speaks of her work as “anti-digital” and we think Brown would appreciate her work ethic.

leahjensen.co.uk

Purchased with the kind assistance of the Contemporary Art Society.

Leah Jensen, Work, 2018