Sunday, December 09, 2012
JENNIFER LEIGH JONES at Croft Gallery
Such a Pill, acrylic & oil on panel, 25x33”, 2012
It was a homecoming for Jennifer Leigh Jones to have her show at Waco's Croft Gallery. She went to Baylor for her undergraduate degree and this is her first solo show in central Texas. If you have been to a Jungian therapist, taken a few psychology classes, or find yourself reading a dream interpretation book then you might have some tools to analyze this "Free Association" show, but then again; I might be over thinking these paintings.
One thing is for sure, these are deeply personal stories Jones has made. The paintings leave the brown surface of the wood panel to act as a dream like space. Your mind can easily wander through this simple minimal area, but then personal memories of objects and animals begin to populate the work. There is a juxtaposition of objects that makes you wonder, “what is she thinking?”. I want to draw my own story, but I am compelled to ask her for some clues. So, although this is representational art, you still get the feeling you are in a world of abstract painting language. Jones extends the life of the Surrealist type art, without repeating or directly referencing the past masters.
In the painting, “Such a Pill,” empty medication bottles are stacked into a pile. A shadow of the pill seems to stretch and kiss the bottom of the work. I come away with mixed feelings of sadness and concern with this heavy laden image. The bottles seem to reference a sickness of an individual and a possible tragedy, but the oranges are so bright and the white labels are so bright that a hint of hopeful feelings glow from the work. One of my favorite works in the show, “Revisit”, places a car inside a forest. The car looks new, but it is clear the trees have grown around the vehicle, thus trapping it. Only in a dream or staged set could this scene exist, but you have to start building your own metaphors to decode the ideas. I had the benefit of hearing about the story of the car in a painting class at the University of North Texas during a critique, but you will have to make up your own story.
One wonderful thing I thought happened at the opening was, Jones got to talk at length with one of her undergraduate professors. I joined in the conversation a bit and I could tell she had earned the respect of her professor. I think central Texas is getting a real treat by her visit. And I urge you to take a drive down to Waco and visit the Croft Gallery to see Jennifer Leigh Jones’ solo show which is up until October 26th.
ModernDallas.net for more pictures.