To all appearances, Eric Jones is a nice, normal artist. He wears cool shoes, is chatty, generally friendly, and you’d imagine he’s the sort of man who never allows himself to become too profoundly encumbered by the tragedies of life. Jones’ exhibition at The ARTS Project earlier this month titled Inner Gardens revealed an artist whose work is rife with symbolism and a particularly studious application of art historical knowledge. The sub-landscapes he depicts are reflective, fantastical and often surreal interpretations of our private human experiences.
A suffocating sense of despair is acknowledged in works such as Datura (in a dark place), where a wind-ruffled man in his late sixties stares fixedly and desperately out at the viewer, his eyes protruding, mouth agape and revealing a row of tiny, inhuman teeth. A trio of vertical tombs, two of which are occupied by mummified figures, stand contrapposto; a stance developed in sculpture to provide a ‘living’ appearance to the human form, most significantly popularized during the Renaissance period in Michelangelo’s famous depiction of David (1501-1504). One tomb sits vacant, and scouring the scene for the source of distress, you find yourself wishing for the man to flee while also feeling safe as a voyeur for what is presumably fated for the subject.
Virtually all of Jones’ paintings suggest narratives and supply us with slightly fantastic landscapes on which to imagine these stories playing out. Paths that wind within landscapes appear to have no actual destination, such as in Guzelyurt Landform (2) (west looking view). The lack of linearity is a metaphor for the individual’s uncertain journey in life. In Not Lost a person shakes a book and scolds another who has chosen to deviate from the well-trodden road taken so many times before. Not Lost is a meditation on what it means and what it will cost to fashion your own life path and run the risk of disappointing others and disrupting the status quo. Continue Reading