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June 30, 2004
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Artistic journey moves around the globe

Kent Jones
Kent Jones, professor of visual arts at Grenfell College, stands beside two of his latest portrait works.

By Pamela Gill
“It’s about the journey, not the destination.” That’s how professor and visual artist Kent Jones sums up his vision of the visual arts, whether it be in a gallery, or a classroom. This is a notion that has permeated Mr. Jones’ teachings and artwork for the last 30 years.

“I like to think that my teaching parallels my artwork,” said Mr. Jones, sitting at his kitchen table in Corner Brook. Just around the corner, his art studio is filled with one of his latest efforts – a series of near-life-sized portraits. Accompanying the larger portraits are smaller, symbolic paintings and drawings based on “character roles and traits” which we all possess.

“It will be an interactive exhibition, where viewers will be invited to move the symbolic portraits and match them with the larger paintings,” he explained.

Over the last year or so, Mr. Jones’ journey has been a hectic, yet rewarding one. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has acquired more than 50 of his paintings and prints. The Glenbow Museum in Calgary has requested 17 of his works for its permanent collection and 11 more which were produced by Canadian artists who worked with Mr. Jones as a Master Printer in the early ’80s. Four of his original etchings of California Missions were purchased by Daniel Fine Art of Laguna Beach, California, and are being reproduced as 1600 high-end giclée prints for installation in the new Ritz Carlton Hotel being constructed in Dana Point, California. And in addition to the exhibition of portraits, his Boxers exhibition will be shown twice in Northern Ireland in the fall, and yet another exhibition of idea-based, individually thematic works will also be shown in Ireland at the same time.

A fourth exhibition of Newfoundland and Labrador youth athletes will be shown in August during the 2004 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer games in Marystown – the main cultural event for the Games – and later tour the province’s Arts and Culture Centres.

Boxers, youth athletes, the human psyche – a theme in his work. Why?

He explains that, over the years, he has developed two distinctive bodies of artwork.

“In one, my paintings, prints and drawings combine abstraction, representation, shimmering surfaces and subtle colour to explore many levels of a theme or an idea in each individual artwork,” he says.

The other side of his work delves into the dynamics of various communities.

“These works are as much public art projects as they are series of portraits,” said Mr. Jones.


 


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Next issue: July 22, 2004

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