Mary Jones | Travel Light
February 7 - March 10, 2019
Stop ye travellers as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, soon you shall be
Prepare yourself to follow me.
-Epitaph of unknown European origin
High Noon is proud to present Mary Jones’s solo debut with the gallery, Travel Light. Jones’s newest work is a visceral amalgamation of motion and identity. Gesture is clear and concise where Jones creates paths with rollers and spray paint, and incorporates X-ray prints on acetate, seemingly backlit, illuminated by silver or aluminium leaf beneath. The canvas is a rich and active surface, resembling a gritty city wall that over time has been graffitied, postered, painted, plastered, wheat-pasted, and weathered into one non-linear timeline, acting in unison. The show’s title most notably delves into mortality, commenting on success as accumulation, and the idea that “you can’t take it with you.” The X-Rays integrated with the leaf also bear reference to Renaissance portraiture, suggesting the illusory concept of ideal form within the abstraction. Jones reconfigures the often ambiguous interior images to further obscure the viewer’s perception or places them in humorous or bizarre compositions, playing on the instinct to read into forms as figurative, or read into figures as symbols. The result is a sort of intimate reverse-portraiture.
Her paintings begin with a vibrant bottom ground as natural backlighting for the additional, more dense top layers. Unafraid of the risk of leaving behind previous layers, Jones continues to look for something new, but also something she recognizes as well. She views her method as similar to sculpting, and nothing is “too precious” in the process of building and excavation. As chaotic and controlled as Polke, with Rothko-esque tense color blocking, Jones fearlessly arcs back to a primal technique of art making while establishing a connection throughout art history, allowing the motion of the marks to fall into place. As gestural painting goes, it is often rooted in an impulsive desire to “find the light through the storm;”upon distinct observation, beginning to recognize shape and form through process. As Jones’s paintings come into focus, they start to resemble that of Greek cycladic figures and Miro paintings, where there is more shape and line than physical depth. She thinks metaphorically about star constellations, how they are both singular points and fragments that stitch together a complete form, connecting the dots mentally and visually.
In Jones’s newest body of work, not only do the paintings speak from select periods in art history but are also part of the process of unearthing the development of her own history. She first starts with something she knows in order to discover something new. Re-interpratation then takes on the role of the paint roller in one of her paintings; a network of tunnels connecting the past to the present. In lieu of recycling old techniques, Jones takes on the challenge of re-integrating certain elements into her new work in unexpected ways, like a stencil or found feathered wallpaper. These elements are then eulogized without being replenished; they become finite, the stencil itself becomes collaged. Often pertaining lotus imagery, symbolic of evolution and transformation, the stencil’s own presence is the final goodbye but is the beginning of a new piece. The reclamation of X-rays from her late Mother-in-Law and stencils is another way of cleansing--- re-using bits and pieces from the past, creating space for new interpretations. The recovered elements’ participation is also their end, beautiful and disturbing, like a fallen deer in the woods decomposed into a patch of fungi and flowers.
Mary Jones received a BFA and MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She began her career in Los Angeles and has been living and working in NYC since 1986. Jones has shown her work in galleries and museums internationally, most recently at John Molloy Gallery in NYC in 2016. Other exhibitions include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Ovsey Gallery, Cugliani Gallery, Jeffrey Coploff Fine Art, Robert Green Fine Arts, Marlborough Chelsea, and Cenci Gallery, Rome. She is in many notable collections, including the Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles. Her work has been reviewed in the NY Times, LA Times, Art in America, Artforum, and Artnews among others and is included in the book, “L.A.Rising, SoCal Artists Before 1980”, by Lyn Kienholz. Jones is a Senior Critic at RISD, where she has taught since 1998, and an instructor at SVA since 2009. As an art writer, she has also contributed to bombmagazine.org since 2009, and recently for artcritical.com, interviewing artists about their work and process.
dArt Magazine International | Travel Light by Christopher Hart Chambers