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Jessica Akerman

Jessica Akerman makes objects and images that bring together social narratives, pattern and colour. She explores histories, systems and structures and how these are communicated. Themes include: the staging of power dynamics in national identity, women’s working lives and military engineering.

Working in drawing, installation, object-making and social exchange, her approach to materials is that of the amateur craft enthusiast, weaving paper, pinning leather, colouring in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Traditional folk culture and customs are often a starting point for exploring contemporary social themes. She worked with singer Frankie Armstrong on a performance workshop, capturing the physical gestures of women’s jobs using Traditional work songs and play dough. In June 2020 she produced a Caraboo Loops podcast with Caraboo Projects, Bristol on rough music, public shaming and the crossovers with recent events during the Covid-19 lockdown and Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Works

Excel spreadsheet drawings

This ongoing body of work uses the administrator’s essential tool, the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, to create graphical drawings. Abstract and decorative, these drawings reflect on often coercive systems of working environments, and the strategies workers use to express their agency within office / working life.

The Excel artworks form part of my ongoing interest in labour, social attitudes to work, and the objects, gestures and systems that seep into wider culture from our working lives.

Winged Banner B-2

This paper weaving was made using 2 rolls of Fabriano paper, painted on both sides and woven together over the course of 3 days. The abstract wing forms reference the components of a model maker’s stealth bomber (the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit) kit, and have featured in my work over several years. This weaving formed the central piece in my Annihilation Seal solo show at ArcadeCampfa, Cardiff, which explored the visual identities of nuclear states, alongside the visuals of extinction, such as dinosaur death poses and carbon.