A Conversation with Jason Briggs

I was first introduced to Jason's work when he gave a lecture at the State University of New York at New Paltz in November 2014. He spoke extensively about how the "want to touch" drives his work. As he talked, tactile images appeared on the accompanying projection, among them – a horse's anus. He explained that the "desire to touch is much different than actually touching." Funny. It is nearly impossible to look at his pieces without a sexualized lens, especially with erotic names like Baby, Flirt, Tootsie, and Cream and the not-so-subtle references to bondage and fetish. 

My love and fascination with Jason's work lie not only in the objects themselves but also in the context in which they exist. They are these beautiful, horrible, precious little babies artfully fabricated with the precision of a mad scientist/mother, whose logic is precise and definitive and known only to themselves. They are a childlike exploration into disgust, desire, and the fetishes that exist when these two polarized feelings come to overlap and exist on a continuum. The objects are pink and appear squishy, composed of orifices, nipples, follicles, all sorts of foldy-skin things. Some have neat, little tufting on their fleshy parts like a couch would, while others are tightly laced up. Most of them have hair purposefully plucked from the maker with maternal selflessness and attention. They are objects only a mother could love. In fact, at the end of describing his process during his lecture at New Paltz, Jason paused and said, "I have a real baby." 

Recently, I was able to sit down virtually with Jason and have a wonderful and meandering conversation about his studio practice. I wanted to know more about the juxtapositions of beauty and disgust, the role that childhood plays in the work, and maybe how that childhood curiosity can turn into shame. I was also interested in hearing his opinions on how the public and galleries have responded to the work.