My work was selected out of 1000 participants to be included in the New American Paintings Midwest Publication that is due out this year. 40 artists were selected for the publication, by the juror, Emily Leibert, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
A one person exhibition located at The University of Michigan, North Campus Research Center, consisting of several paintings from September thru December of 2018. The Opening Reception is planned for Thursday, September 20, from 5-7pm...all are welcome. My statement for the exhibition follows;
We are incessantly bombarded with images and like some intoxicating sweet candy they, tempt, tease, distract, fill us up and pacify, if only for a moment. The glut of images mirror and determine our cultural anatomy, and are as damaging as the sugary junk that we consume with its ill effect on the body and mind. Perhaps a constant spoon feeding of meaningless images has desensitized us to beauty and also caused a decay within ourselves...such are excesses of late capitalism.
Painting slows down the ingestion of images; it involves time to consider the viscous, gooey substance of paint itself and its meaning in relation to an image. The polysemantic nature of paint appeals to the body and also the mind. As I paint, the infinitesimal transforms into the astronomical and then back again – the origins of life; benign, or malignant cells and microorganisms; anatomical systems, structures and fluids; celestial bodies; the universe as a living organism; an expression of the interconnectedness of all things - I become a child in a candy shop with a sugar buzz as I consider the infinite possibilities - and I suck them all in.
I devour the world with my eyes and I am altered in some way by what I see. Affecting the cells and chemistry of my body, images flare externally and internally feeding my hungering brain in a constant flow - my body absorbs images and they become part of me - paint feeds thought and thought becomes action. Thoughtful action is the means for change. My pupils dilate to take in more; I feel alive in a heightened state of awareness. I feel my heart race as desire shapes what I see. Color triggers a tasty reaction in the back of the throat that originates in the gut - Painting begins in the body.
My work is about the numerous sensations and reactions that originate inside me that are stimulated by the suggestion of imagery while I paint; each painting is a visual record of a self perpetuating imagery/sensation/reaction system that is consuming and immersive. I sift through my visual memories and imagination; the material of paint and the act of painting conjures and sustains this process. I let intuition, spontaneity, humor and the mutability of paint lead me along. My paintings go through much reworking, and it’s paramount that such alterations are visible as a sign of continuous nourishment, assimilation and excretion, a life and death, that is inherent to each painting and the workings of an expansive inner world that is essential to being.
I delivered a presentation on the work and artists included in the exhibition of SIX, at the Janice Charach Gallery, on Sunday, February 18, at 2pm. The featured artists are Emilee Arter, Andrew Blake, Dennis Jones, Megan Parry, Catherine Peet and Carl Wilson. This event was open to the public.
I have curated a painting exhibition titled, SIX, for the Janice Charach Gallery, located within the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The show will open Sunday, January 14 and run thru February 22, of 2018. The six aratists I have selected to participate in the show include; Emilee Arter, Andrew Blake, Megan Parry, Catherine Peet, Carl Wilson and myself. The following is a statement I have prepared for the exhibition;
The act of painting encompasses all of human expression...this is its inherent desire; which exists in the magnetism between an image and object. Painting is a synthesis of the imagination and reality, the unknowable and the known; it is a dynamic interrelationship of content and form that provides a basis for its syntax and comprehension. The language of painting is internal, in the place of ideas, yet simultaneously it is about the concrete materiality of the object directly in front of us. Paintings operate in the interchangeable region between thinking (idea) and image (object).
I believe that painting, perhaps more than any other media, allows for an infinite variety and diversity of expression. Most painters display layers of multiple influences in their work and tend to eschew the limitations of any one particular label all with the intent to develop a personalized language. The process of painting is non linear and often defies the tidiness of singular classification; its nature is elusive and subversive. Paint can be anything; the material itself, an action, a process of making, a reference to historical precedent, a literal representation, a scribbling of lines, a calling for its own death, or something headily conceptual; its thick or thin, gooey, viscous consistency is imbedded with all of human experiences and open to infinite readings and shifting interpretations. Painting is a language like no other – its messy, ambiguous, and polysemic nature has always fascinated me.
Each of the artists included in the exhibition have a widely different approach to their image making; they possess a vigorous desire to create; and their work presents a certain elegiac quality that is most human, accessible and inclusively connects us all. Each of the artists express vulnerability, longing, loss, and mortality that extends beyond the genres of representation and abstraction, as found in; Emilee Arter's stitched together temporal surfaces; Andrew Blake’s multi-layered accumulation of mark-making; a “dance on the grave” humor in Megan Parry’s Coffins; the wonder of infinite sky in Catherine Peet’s pieces; or the intimate and starkly human narratives in Carl Wilson’s images; and the potent affect of paint on the body in my work. The process involved with making art is demanding, solitary and willfully life affirming, as evidenced by the unique vision conjured by each of the painters; I strongly feel that the selected artists are deserving of your attention and celebration.
Dennis Michael Jones