On Exhibit: Guy Jones

“Murder of Crows” pen and ink/ mixed media by Guy Jones. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy).

The Surreal Logic of Guy Jones’ Madness

By Kelly MacConomy

Fans and patrons of the Art League, the Target Gallery and Del Ray Artisans will readily recognize the allegorical style and studious draftsmanship of longtime Torpedo Factory artist Guy Jones.

Guy’s preferred medium is pen and ink rendered on natural frames ranging from large mammal skulls and ginormous ostrich eggs to turtle shells and hollowed gourds. Surreality is limited only by the parameters of a finely tuned imagination and an open mind. And judging by the ooohs and ahhhs uttered by newcomers to Guy’s world, there’s nothing illogical in its surreal madness.

“The Guardian” pen and ink on cow skull by Guy Jones. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

“The Guardian,” a typical Jones sculptural skull fantasy, draws you in and out of the imagery. One socket forms the supple breast to savage beak of a falcon while the other shapes a derby-donning gent’s slouching shoulder, as both meld into a grinning Cheshire Cat whose Tabby-striped tail swirls back up a nasal cavity caressing the portrait of a cragged, face-worn peasant woman sporting a babushka. Stepping into Guy’s third-floor studio is much like falling down the rabbit hole, arriving at Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Guy’s deep understanding and appreciation of the natural world juxtaposed with the human condition comes largely from his studies with a Cherokee shaman. Guy is of Cherokee lineage. His spiritual kinship with nature and Native American traditions guide his pen with every stroke.

“Sky Vault” (18hx36w) pen and ink by Guy Jones. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

Guy exhibited his work last July at the Solo Show of the Art League Gallery: “Drawing Energy—The Logic of Madness.” In his review of that show, Washington Post art critic Mark Jenkins wrote, “Such combinations might not be the stuff of madness, but they are surely surreal. Jones gives dead things a new form of life, strange yet vital.”

This is visual expression that transforms the objective to its most subjective creativity. It is passionately defiant in the absence of color. Some might find the compositions crazy. But in a mad, mad world, Guy’s fantastical artistry is crazy like a fox.

“Churn, Churn, Churn” pen and ink on panel (12Hx9W) by Guy Jones. (Photo by Kelly MacConomy)

Guy will next contribute to the 9th Annual March 150 Special Exhibit & Art Sale, March 9 through March 31, at the Torpedo Factory. He is a favorite exhibitor at these shows and his donated works, executed on square wood panels, are always the first to be snatched up at a bargain $150. (Guy’s work routinely sells for four figures.) Proceeds from the March 150 Special Exhibit & Art Sale benefit future exhibitions and programs at Target Gallery and the Art Center.

“Raven Child” a new work by Guy Jones, pen and ink on deer skull. (Photo by Guy Jones).

Come to March 150 and explore all three floors of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Admission is free. It’s open daily except major holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. There are special Art League and Target Gallery events on second Thursdays each month and themed Late Shift events until 10:30 p.m. on second Fridays. You can find Guy Jones in Studio 337 and often at exhibition openings and special events.

If you haven’t been to the Torpedo Factory lately, you haven’t been to the Torpedo Factory.

Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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