Artist Talk, Saturday, September 23 at 1pm
ROBERT C. JONES – New Paintings
Seattle artist Robert C. Jones taught at the UW School of Art for 35 years. Today, he continues his daily studio practice in West Seattle, where he lives and works with his wife and fellow artist Fay Jones. This is our second solo exhibit with Robert C. Jones.
Robert C. Jones (b. 1930) attended RISD in the 1950’s (BFA, MS) and studied under the abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman during the summer of 1952. It was at this point in his career when his focus shifted from realism to abstraction. After receiving his BFA from RISD, Jones served in the army from 1953-56. Returning to Providence RI, Jones finished up his graduate work, married fellow artist, Fay Jones, and started a family. In 1960, Robert was offered a teaching position at the University of Washington School of Art, where he continued to work until he retired in 1995.
“Society pressures artists to camouflage the good time they are having. I come to my studio to paint for the sheer fun of it, for the sheer pleasure of trying to come up with something I’ve never seen before. And if I screw up, I don’t screw up the universe or anyone else’s life. There’s a possibility for freedom in art that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, and I love it” – Robert C. Jones
CABLE GRIFFITH – This, That, and Everything
While making this work, I’ve tried to remind myself, and hopefully others, of the fundamental connection between everyone and everything. Nature is one word for it. Quantum Mechanics describes an aspect of this connection on the particle level as “entanglement”. But we see much larger and more obvious expressions of the push and pull that results from this connection through increasing societal and environmental consequences. Despite the tension that rises from these connections, I wanted to represent some aspect of the beauty and promise I feel when reminded of this underlying fabric. For me, harboring this awareness feels both cosmic and intimate.
This flip-flop between the tangible and metaphysical is something for which painting is well suited to describe. I’ve always been captivated by a painting’s ability to exist both as a clunky dumb object and a magical portal to another place. Paintings can point to a “here” and “there” simultaneously. Considering this, I wanted to make paintings that began with a wholehearted embrace of the canvas as a fabric, with all of its unique imperfections.
I used a Shibori dye-technique to reveal a grid folded from the canvas’ own dimensions. Then, I added oil paint over a clear sealant, building off of the dye patterns to suggest form and space. I became interested in how each painting held unique properties before the oil paint was even added. Successive painting decisions were built on this foundation, elaborating and continuing to “unfold” something that seemed to spawn from within the fabric itself. The resulting paintings represent a balance between the surface’s undeniable physicality, a longing for wilderness, and a touch of my own West Coast utopian fantasy.