Monday, May 1, 2006

FOCUS/Santa Fe interview

From FOCUS/Santa Fe, June/July 2006 Issue,
By Jo Ann Baldinger
May 2006

Jennifer J. L. Jones paintings are featured in a solo exhibition at Hunter-Kirkland Contemporary Gallery, May 26 - June 18.

ennifer J. L. Jones’s paintings dance a fine line between the abstract and the recognizable. Tiny white birds seem to tumble out of a fiery sunset, stars explode against a dark sky, a forest lake emerges out of the mist and then, as we gaze, disappears back into it.

These mixed media works, all done on wood panel, and ranging in size from 10 inches square to greater than 6 by 8 feet, enchant the viewer with their shape-shifting qualities. Jones accomplishes the unusual feat of presenting a subtle, feminine sensibility with passion, energy, and imagination.

"Making art is the only thing in my life that I never questioned," the artist said in a recent phone interview from her home in Atlanta. "I always felt, ‘I can do this.’ "

At the young age of 34, Jones has accumulated some impressive credentials, including annual exhibitions in galleries from Los Angeles to Santa Fe to Chicago, and from Martha’s Vineyard to Lisbon, Portugal. Her work is owned by numerous international corporations, while the list of her private collectors includes Oprah Winfrey.

In any particular painting, Jones may use oils, acrylics, glue, charcoal, wax, metal, and textured paper to build a multilayered surface that reveals its secrets over time. "Often collectors are attracted first to the colors," she observed. "Later - sometimes even after a year living with the painting on their wall - they’ll write to me and say, ‘I just noticed something I’d never seen before!’ "

Jones switched from canvas to wood panels about six years ago, initially because traditional canvas was not strong enough to support all the media she was using. "Then I started getting influenced by the wood itself, the feel of it, the way the paintbrush moves over it, the way I can glue textures onto it. I also started leaving part of the wood grain revealed. Now," she said, "the wood sometimes dictates the entire painting."

Jones credits her rural upbringing in Virginia and Florida with her reliance on the natural world as an inspiration for her art. "Nature and light are important to me. One thing I like about Atlanta is that there are so many parks and trees, and we have gorgeous sunsets here as well."

After earning her BFA from the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994, Jones recalled, "I was so burned out that it took me about two years to really start developing my own style, my own way of painting." She will not disclose the specifics of her techniques, but describes her process as intuitive rather than pre-planned. "I may bring an idea or a feeling into the studio. Then, as I’m working, the images start revealing themselves through the paint."

Last year Jones was one of four artists featured in a UCLA-sponsored exhibition and lecture series titled Healing and Transformation through Art, which explored the ways the creative arts can unleash personal insight and enhance health. This honor points to another essential source of Jones’s art: her ongoing meditation practice. "Spirituality is about energy," she explained. "The energy you put into a painting is what viewers will pick up and respond to."

Jennifer’s work can be seen at Hunter-Kirkland Contemporary, 200-B Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501. (505) 984-2111

Creating exclusive piece for Art with a Heart Fundraiser

An Evening for Art with a Heart for Children takes place Thursday, October 19 from 7 to 10 PM at Stellers Gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach. The catered affair will feature a silent auction of the children’s masterpieces along with artwork by professional artists, including a donated painting by Jennifer J. L. Jones- created exclusively for this first annual fundraising event. Ticket prices are $65 and can be purchased online at and at Stellers Gallery, 240 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach. For more information contact: Kerrie Slattery, Executive Director; (904) 543-0910.

Art with a Heart for Children was founded in 2001 as a way to provide assistance to ill children. This unique Arts-in-Healing program has grown to serve more than 7,500 children five days a week at both Wolfson Children’s Hospital and the Nemours Children’s Clinic.