Jennie C. Jones: Compilation

Contemporary Arts Museum , Houston, United States
12 Dec 2015 - 27 Mar 2016

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation

Jennie C. Jones, Blues in C Sharp Minor (for Teddy Wilson), 2015. Acoustic absorber panel and acrylic paint on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is showing a mid-career survey Jennie C. Jones: Compilation, which chronicles Jones’s practice over an 11-year period and includes the artist’s iconic “Acoustic Paintings,” early works on paper, sculpture, and sound works. The exhibition debuts a suite of new “Acoustic Paintings” along with site-specific installations created for her presentation at CAMH. Jones brings to light the unlikely parallels that emerged between the visual arts and jazz during the social and cultural upheavals in the late 1950s.

Formally trained as a painter, Jones is a conceptual artist working between painting, sculpture, and sound to mine the histories of modernism. The aesthetic and political resonances of Jones’s unlikely sources, which were revolutionary in their own right—minimalism in sculpture, abstraction in painting, and experimental jazz in music—are evident in the bodies of work she has created in the media she employs.

Jones plays upon the perception of sound within the tradition of the visual arts through her use of unconventional materials. The act of listening, as well as the modes thereof, become in and of themselves part of the artist’s practice, which has evolved from literal references to music in early drawings and collages to more nuanced and multifaceted installations that engage the viewer visually and aurally.

Jones frequently uses iconic phrasing from jazz vocalists and instrumentalists as raw material that she fragments, disrupts, and dissolves into associative sounds, which in turn function as distinct installations or in combination with sculpture or installations of her now emblematic “Acoustic Paintings.” These “Acoustic Paintings”—minimalist in nature—are composed using monochromatic canvases with sound-absorbing panels that are highlighted with pops of color. Jones says she likes the panels, normally used to minimize echoes and reverberations in auditoriums and the like, because they are “working.” The resulting paintings, often presented as a suite or installation, evoke a physiological response by the viewer, whose recognition of the material triggers an internal expectation of sound. Says Jones, “I always say they’re active even when there’s no sound in the room; they are affecting the subtlest of sounds in the space—dampening and absorbing even the human voice.”

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation is curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Jennie C. Jones: Compilation is accompanied by a significant monograph published by Gregory R. Miller & Co. featuring the artist’s paintings, drawings, works on paper, and sculpture. The publication includes an introduction and essay by the organizing curator, Valerie Cassel Oliver, as well as essays by Hilton Als and George E. Lewis, in addition to a conversation between Jennie C. Jones and Huey Copeland.



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