Jules Jones: Piece Me Back Together
This exhibit is part of the gallery’s 2020-21 theme entitled Healing Bodies. Because many of our bodies whether planetary, ideological, physical, cultural or otherwise, require attention, we have invited visual and performance works that offer new ways of viewing Wellness as defined by our artists.
October 7 – 28
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 7, 6 p.m. ET, Online
Local artist closely inspects the concept of Wellness saying, “We hold magic in our arms when we hug our friends and lovers, in our words when we discuss the Revolution.” In paintings that reference global art traditions and cultural iconography the disabled artist molds mini worlds with haloed beings, voluptuous fertility goddesses, and forms that challenge the gender binary. Using monotype, lithography, woodcut, linoleum and rubber cuts, and screen prints with pieces of paintings on paper, Jones layers line, color, and shape through watercolor, ink, and pastel, presenting us with vibrant collage and print paintings that explode with energy.
As a disabled artist, the concept of “wellness” can often feel wildly unattainable and its definition is certainly amorphous. My wretched madness, my melancholic moods have shaped, and will shape my life to come. Instead of exhausting myself fighting against my disabilities, I can fight to the best of my ability against the Big Boogeyman that is ableism, (one of many icky Isms), that decides just who is welcome to participate in this thing called life. Our planet reflects our hurting bodies and minds for we too are of nature. We hold magic in our arms when we hug our friends and lovers, in our words when we discuss the revolution, in our legs and wheelchair wheels when we march, stroll, and roll towards a better tomorrow. Many of us possess empathy, a vital superpower, as we seek forms of Restorative Justice over more carceral canons. My work is suffused with this appreciation for our interconnectedness, our ability to find beauty when misery threatens to steal our aptitude for loving unabashedly.
These images excise the demons of my psyche and bring forth the delightful, fantastic forms of the subconscious. I strive to reference global art traditions and cultural iconography with an appreciative touch. I mold miniature worlds with haloed beings, voluptuous fertility goddesses, and forms that challenge the Gender Binary. These are places where I can safely reference flames, suns, and light rays¬- without the stinging burns. Through my art practice I stitch and glue my life back together, each molecule of paint and scrap of paper an indulgence in obsessiveness and order, so unlike everyday life. Art walks with me as I grapple with self-compassion, self-forgiveness, and self-mercy. Our worlds, our Bodies start healing the moment we embrace compassion for ourselves, facing the Boogeymen buried deep within us, the keeper of our traumas. We are capable of healing our bodies, one emotion or one brushstroke at a time.
Jules Jones is a queer disabled artist living and working in Franklin County, MA. They studied painting and drawing at Greenfield Community College where they received their Associates degree in Fine Arts in 2014. They continued onto UMass Amherst to complete their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts (with a minor in Art History) in 2016, incorporating printmaking into their artistic practice. After graduating they remained in the area to paint and show locally. They have exhibited work throughout the Pioneer valley, the Berkshires, Hudson NY, and Brooklyn NY. Jones has also been an artist in residence at artist residency programs in Northern California and Vermont. They have been published in Studio Visit Magazine, a sister publication of New American Paintings.
Jones’s prior work has delved into themes of fat femme body image via wall sized self-portraits in charcoal, as well as painterly abstraction, long distance digital romance, mental health, and social justice issues. Jones’ collage and print paintings incorporate print media such as monotype, lithography, woodcut, linoleum and rubber cuts, and screen prints along with pieces of paintings on paper. Each element adds diversity in texture to the picture planes’ surface; their mosaic-like paintings absolutely challenge the notion that painting, and printmaking are separate artistic actions. Each finished work becomes a quilt comprised of sections of paintings, drawings, and prints, some dating as far back as the early 2000s in the form of childhood and adolescent doodles. Consequently, their work is as much a collaboration with time itself, as with the media used throughout- such as ink, watercolor, pastel, oil stick, and marker. The combination of a generous use of mixed media and the furious and studious upcycling of self-made materials has led to a precise visual language and artistic process all their own.