Wednesday, August 19, 2015

JULES BUCK JONES at Conduit Galley repost by Todd Camplin

The city of Austin has a wild spirit and working in that culture is the artist Jules Buck Jones. This year, he came up to Dallas and turned Conduit Galley into an imaginative wonderland of wild animals and chaotic plants. Only the formal element of framing his work, pulled me out of his dream. But that can be excused for works on paper.

You can enter into his world of strange, high rendered plants and animals. His colors smash and clash with hints that reference real colors in nature, but just barely. I wouldn’t call his work “wild beast,” though he employs quite a few. Many of the works were jungle scenes that seem to convert the room into an installation piece, along with his sculptures that pushed into the space. I could almost imagine pushing back the hanging vines and running into one of his creatures. Buck Jones’ world is reminiscent of folk art with a hint of David Bates, Billy Hassell, or even John Alexander. Only Buck Jones’ colors and shapes, used to build up his drawings, are very much his own invention.

His stunning owls look at you with eerie energy. Canidae is a wolf head seen in multiple perspective, like a cubist work, or in his case, trianglism, because the triangle plays heavy as a design element. But if the picture is not an individual wolf, it might be a tightly packed pack of wolves. Either way, I get the feeling of dread and beauty mix to make a subline composition of unknowable animal thoughts. His woodpecker sculpture uses a sound element to push home the tragic clashes between man and other animals. After all, this was the last recorded sounds from an Ivory-billed woodpecker, yet people are hopeful the bird is still deep in the woods of Arkansas.

Buck Jones also uses a bit of humor in his work. Like using an open mouthed pelican to act as a stand for a nest. Flintstones came to mind, only with a twist, a hawk instead of a person is using the sight gag. Of course, his manipulation of the animals and plants plays into his environmental concerns. I see a vein of his passion for the environment, but his work is too complex to reduce it down to just one message.

Jules Buck Jones is showing with Matt Clark in the front gallery and Scott Daniel Ellison in the project room. I want to revisit the gallery to give these two artists their due. I think Matt Clark’s paintings in particular might be worth spending more time. Particularly his pieces that focus on lines and geometric structures. All three shows will be up at Conduit Gallery through June 20th.

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