Friday, March 11, 2005

Steve Jones

Steve Jones is showing at Main Art this month with an exhibition called Winter Was Hard.

Most of this stuff may be familiar to you if you try to hit all the galleries, I think the opportunity to have this show came up suddenly and he wasn't quite prepared - much of it is the same stuff he had in his Project Room show at Reynolds Gallery not too long ago. Reynolds Gallery is right across the street!

I had a short conversation with an artist friend last night about showing the same work twice - he disapproves. I'm fine with it. Bands get to play the same songs over and over and over! Sometimes it's good to see the same work recontextualized, in a different space. I might be a little more conducive to this idea right now because I'm really sick of the frenzy for seeing whatever is NEW (even though I'm ravenously guilty myself).

So I spent some time today looking at stuff I've already seen in Steve's studio, at his thesis show, at Reynolds, and elsewhere... and I wasn't bored at all. My favorite pieces were the ones I hadn't seen before, but I think that I liked them best because they are best, not just new. One of these two pieces is also the only one that has apparently sold, so someone else must agree.

Steve's work is highly stylized, kind of cold, narrative-ish, very removed - full of bullies, dead dogs, abuse, pipes, monsters, shovels, people looking panicked, running garden hoses and muddy yards. Everything is topsy-turvy and disorienting. His artist statement is full of autobiographical trauma and depression including a horrible two year period during which he lost his mother, three of her sisters, and his wife - all to cancer. This work seems to be referencing unhappy memories which pre-date even all that, or maybe an overlay of subsequent horrible events over a childhood recollection of place. Foreshadowing?

Silver Brainstorm is one of the strongest pieces and one of the hardest to look at. It's hard to look at for three reasons; the subject, the degree of stylization, and because of it's reflective silver surface. This small piece seems to depict a naked boy being raped, or struggling to prevent being raped, by a thing that looks like a Tim Burton alien. The small size (15"x13") and silver foil call to mind the unwrapped silver foil of a very dark bar of chocolate.

Steve Jones' Winter Was Hard is at Main Art Gallery through March 28th.


eva lake said...

I think it is quite fine to show a work in another time and in another place. You see 'famous paintings' time after time and all the good ones never lose their magnetic qualities. Yes, we should keep making new work. But this doesn't mean that a work that was once seen cannot be seen again.

mountain man said...

Do his paintings make you feel sorry for him or empathetic? I might feel disgusted but only because I have problems too. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

steve jones is such a solid name. cheers!

mountain man said...

Sorry. I was just being a dummy. I'm sure I would like his work very much. I just have issues with abuse and unhappiness, since I can relate to it and only my donkey understands me. Also I reserve the right to be the unhappiest. I wish that my art were more instructive and cathartic. I am troubled too.

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