An exhibition of recent work by Dallas painter Otis Jones will be on
display November 23, 2019, through January 18, 2020, at William Campbell
Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held Saturday, November 23,
from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show will feature a selection of Jones's
tactile, depth-driven, nonrepresentational paintings that reveal and
revel in the artist's process and his relationship with the materials.
"I'm making things that speak to me and that reflect on my aesthetic and my
soul," remarks Jones, who juxtaposes the formal with the organic and the
personal with the universal to create quiet, contemplative microenvironments.
To achieve this, he reduces subject matter to its formal elements,
highlighting the vastness of simplicity. At the same time, he situates the
lines and shapes within lush, painterly planes that imply a depth of
conscience. He refers to these austere yet provocative combinations as
Jones's pieces are traditional, in that they are pigment on canvas However,
they also take the concept of a painting to a more sophisticated level, wherein
the structural components are as much a part of the piece as its surface, which
he manipulates by sanding, scraping, staining, or layering marble dust, pigment,
or resin. Jones does not only leave apparent the raw edges, plywood strata, and
rows of staples underneath that intricate surface-he emphasizes them. In this
vein, they become building blocks as well as finished piece. "I want it to be
a painting, and I want people to see how it's made. That reinforces the beauty
of the object itself," says Jones.
Jones traces his fascination with the "objectness" of things back to his
childhood, when he spent time with his grandfather on the farm constructing
utilitarian things like milking stools. There, Jones watched as the objects
were used over time, developing patinas and signs of wear, and in a sense,
their own identities. He envisioned them outside of the barn, in places that
would value their tangible and visual presence, and in turn, their
distinctive colors, shapes, and textures.
Jones's paintings are saturated with process, ritual, and intent. Painted,
sanded, and scraped again and again, the canvases illuminate the artist's
practice, but also the deft manipulations, deliberate movements, and care
he invests in transforming raw materials into a cohesive visual statement.
"I want to really amplify painting as object," says Jones, who views his
work not as a vehicle to the thing, but as the thing itself. "All paintings
are objects, but I want to heighten that. It's not a window, and I want to
reinforce that. I'm more about the physical presence of the work, and the
physical presence of the surface, how it's constructed, and the physical
qualities of what I make."
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Otis Jones has an extensive exhibition history spanning more than five decades.
He has mounted solo and group shows in galleries across the Dallas-Fort Worth
Metroplex and in New York City, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Santa Fe,
Brussels, and Copenhagen, among others. His work has also appeared in many
museum exhibitions, including those at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art,
the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Center of Waco, the Austin Museum of Art,
the Cullen Center in Houston, the Arlington Museum of Art, the Galveston Art C
enter, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe.
Jones's work has been featured in various publications, among them Art in
America, Artlies, Artforum online, Artnet magazine, D Home magazine, the
Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Observer, the Houston Chronicle, New American
Paintings, the New York Times, NY ARTS magazine, Fort Worth's Star-Telegram,
and THE magazine. His paintings belong to numerous public collections, among
them the Dallas Museum of Art, the MIT List Visual Art Center, the Tyler
Museum of Art, and San Antonio's Witte Museum. Corporate collections include
American Airlines, the A.H. Belo Corporation, AT&T, the Compaq Corporation,
GTE, and Neiman-Marcus.
Otis Jones earned his MFA from the University of Oklahoma and his BFA from
Kansas State University. He has taught at Texas Christian University and the
University of Texas at Arlington, among other universities, and in 1982 he
was the recipient of a Visual Arts Fellowship Grant from the National
Endowment for the Arts.
A monograph on Jones, including an essay by Luanne McKinnon, a review by
John Yau, and an interview with the artist, is scheduled for release this