The Cultural Center of Wyoming
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jeremy Jones is an artist originally from Casper, WY. Jones received AFA’s in commercial and fine art from Casper College in 2003 and 2004, a BFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Wyoming in 2006 and an MFA in sculpture from Wichita State University in 2012. Jones works in a variety of mediums including ceramics, woodcarving, welding, casting/mold making, found objects and digital processes. Jones has exhibited his work both nationally and internationally and has had reviews in The Nashville Scene, Nashville Arts Magazine, and Peripheral ARTeries Contemporary Art Review. In addition, Jones’s work has been featured on the Instagram pages of Hyperallergic and The Jealous Curator. Jones has taught ceramics, sculpture and facilitated artmaking at several universities and is currently a ceramics instructor at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN. Interact Center is a progressive arts space for artists with disabilities.
FROM THE ARTIST
My work investigates the varied spaces of parenthood and seeks to enshrine the everyday moments of child rearing. As a parent/artist immersed in the trenches of helping to raise two young children, the fleeting transformations of a child’s growth and development are both magical and bittersweet. I create toy-like sculptures and assemblages that utilize clay, mixed media, found objects, and digital technologies to physically and mentally preserve those moments that you can’t get back.
The unfiltered curiosity and innocence of a small child requires that I look differently at our complex world; I embrace the creative intuition of a child guided by the experience of an adult. Trips to the playground remind me of the importance of play and the need to escape from the mundane realities of the adult world; the juxtaposition of tubular passages, material connections, bright colors and worn surfaces influence my sensibilities.
The figure is crucial to my work, and I’m interested in the varied forms it can embody such as: portrait, totem, doll, stuffed animal, and action figure. The head is my favorite part to model because of its potential for outward expression, but it’s also the space where thoughts and dreams live. My working approach is playful; I utilize pieces and parts from my collection of molds to create bizarre hybridizations from clay and mixed media.
The alchemical properties of clay from squishy to fired permanence allow me to create tangible memories and suspend them in time. The material is seductive and versatile; it can record grand gestures of the body, yet its plasticity can also preserve the fine detail of a fingerprint. I utilize a variety of forming processes including hand-building, press-molding, and body casting to make my objects.
A sense of mobility is important to my figures, I want them to be engaged in the illusion of fun and movement. I scavenge for old wheels at thrift stores, curbside treasures, and derelict toys. I’m interested in the wheeled-toy archetype because it speaks to the playful and transient nature of childhood. A toy with rope and handle symbolizes both the inevitable passing of time and the resignation of control to an outside entity, be it spiritual or simply kid-powered.
Found objects are integral components of my practice because they represent a duality: beautiful artifacts and cast-off consciousness of society. Because found objects are specimens of culture, they provide the viewer with an entry point into the work. I work from the built-in history of the object, but also seek to include my own vision whereby the synthesis of found object and my creation share a new relationship. I love that I can breathe new life into a “piece of junk”.
My immersion in smartphone culture allows for instantaneous and endless documentation of family activities. With this device I can hoard visual memories inside my camera, however, the sheer quantity swallows up their individuality. I crop figures and scenes from my stockpile of images and “tattoo” them on sculptures. By transferring an image onto a sculpture, the photo is re-activated in reality and there is new potential for movement and play.
Finally, the quirky personalities that I embody as a parent from weird noise maker to trampoline-rocket launcher are just a small example of the idiosyncrasies that manifest themselves into my obsessiveness to create. The slow and thoughtful process of manipulating layers of time with clay and “playing” with materials allows me to process parenthood in longer snippets of time and to meditate on my developing role as a father and caregiver.