Felicia Feaster on Jennifer JL Jones
Nature as rendered in Jennifer J L Jones’ lush brush strokes and cascading curtains of paint is magical and impassioned. The Atlanta-based work continues Jones’ enchantment with the heady colors, immense variety and evocative sensations of the natural world.
The song of the heavens and of the earth explode from the surface of her paintings which offer tribute to nature’s bounty. Jones is fascinated by the shape-shifting, epic variety of nature and how a concept tersely described as “ocean,” is in fact, infinite, ever-changing and visually dynamic.
Doing away with the conventional landscape painter’s focus on sky, horizon and land, Jones favors a far more immersive experience of nature. In her enveloping paintings she creates the feeling of falling into this vast universe and becoming overwhelmed by its abundance. Literal representation—some comforting replica of the world we know—is not Jones’ objective. Instead, it is the sensations of nature that are vividly evoked in Jones’ work. There is the sense of not merely observing, but of existing in these worlds. Her visions of sun, sea, plant and earth bleed from her paintings’ edges to further suggest nature’s continuation outside the frame instead of some perfect view. Light bursts from her paintings’ glowing surfaces which can appear to be lit from within. Over the course of her career, Jones’ colors have grown richer, her paintings more visceral, her imagery dreamier and more transportive. The viewer is caught in a pleasing limbo between observance of nature and being overwhelmed by its splendor.
Her paintings can at times feel almost theatrical, as if Jones were pulling back the curtain of nature to offer her viewers a privileged view. In her wonder cabinets of oceans and seed pods and blossoms illuminated by the sun, Jones creates a frozen, curated tableaux of nature at its most beautiful and arresting. Her seaside views and delicate flowers are the featured players in the drama of nature and creation.
Through Jones’ work, we are afforded a vantage that blends both the modern and the primordial. We have a privileged view of nature but are also allowed to indulge a primitive awe at its wonders. Jones’ perspective is at once scientific and sensual. Her glossy paintings rendered in the colors of fall days and summertime are immersive, transporting us to the sensation of bathing in sunlight, or of entering a forest draped with flaming autumnal leaves.
It is every artist’s task to activate and illuminate what we overlook. And Jones has done just that, offering up a world some might take for granted and reminding us of its magic.
Felicia Feaster, Art Critic