8 July 2021

Artist Jessa Fairbrother in conversation

Artist Jessa Fairbrother’s intervention at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery for Bristol Photo Festival reflects on the work of the Pre-Raphaelites: a brotherhood of English artists founded in 1848.

She situates herself within the Victorian context of gender, bodies, and loss. Jessa’s In Conversation and In Character works become a call and response between the artist and the Pre-Raphaelites, as she uses embroidered images and psychoanalysis to respond to the collection.

‘We yearn for happy endings – but they are perpetually elusive.  Each time we encounter a loss it is a reminder of the abyss – always present but kept out of immediate vision by routine and daily life.

In this online talk, Jessa will discuss the themes in her work and more. For In Conversation Jessa has engaged with the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the Victorian & Edwardian art gallery. She focuses on the sadness inherent in some of the works and the allusion to mortality in the painting Love and Death by George Frederic Watts.

In placing her embroidered and punctured photographs here, Jessa has responded to the surface decoration in many of the works. An example of this is The Garden Court by Edward Burne-Jones with its swooning women beneath a canopy of roses in bloom.

In Character, Jessa’s intervention in the French art gallery concentrates on impending motherhood. This is seen with the placement of portraits of her mother and self-portraits alongside The Unwed Mother by Jean-Louis Forain. Beside Edouard Vuillard’s portrait of Madame Hessel and her Dog Jessa has placed The Rehearsal (to Augustine) which meditates on the now discredited ‘condition of hysteria’ at the Saltpietre asylum in 19th century Paris.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 5pm on Thursday 08 July.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining webinar. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.