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April 26 to June 1, 2013

In Gallery 2

ELI JONES
HEADS OF FAMILY
curated by Robyn O’Neil


Little Drue, side and front views

Eli Jones is an Atlanta based sculptor predominantly working in clay. Jones’s work is no-frills and direct, unapologetically personal. He proudly calls himself an “Emotionalist”. HEADS OF FAMILY is the artist’s first solo exhibition, and included are clay busts and a new medium for Jones, paintings. At first imagining these large-scale un-stretched works on canvas as merely backdrops for his busts, he soon found these paintings were necessary counterpoints to the sculptures.

Responding to a period of tremendous loss, these busts are representations of seven family members, each of them dying within the past three years. Jones, also a pianist and accomplished songwriter in several Atlanta based bands, wanted to memorialize these men by sculpting their essence and showing them to the world on pedestals, the sculptural version of what he has done for loved ones through songwriting. He approached each bust very differently style-wise, and the manner points to the expressive portraits of George Condo and Andre Ethier. One blocky and almost cubist, another traditionally sculpted, almost Hellenistic, and one comically and cartoonishly mustachioed, Jones states, “these men, although linked by blood, were as different as you could possibly imagine. It felt vital that I approach each of them with a divergent methodology, a different poetry.” He unified this series by painting each of them a flat black and showing the busts in an almost eerie positioning, with their heads turned away from the viewer. Jones is trying to capture that delicate period of time right after a loved one dies. They are painfully fading into the shadows of the past, yet being exalted and remembered perhaps more vividly than when they were alive.

Jones’s paintings are a bit more mysterious, hinting at gravesites and ghosts. All imagery floats on flat black grounds, colorful and precise rips and tears through the canvas appear to be rainbow-like connections between earth and heaven. Another pull towards finding peace with what is now gone. Both fanciful and sensitive reveries, these paintings fall in a strange space between somber and euphoric.


Eli Jones lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated with a degree in Studio Art from Georgia State University. Jones makes a living playing piano and being a personal chef. Until recently, he was content quietly making sculptures in his backyard and garage. Jones is now ready to exhibit his work, and will continue to labor over a 25-foot tall carved wood sculpture twelve years in the making entitled “Help Me!”.




 

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