Kent Jones received his BFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a post-graduate degree from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, England. He has exhibited his paintings, prints and drawings in solo, group and juried exhibitions worldwide since 1971. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including awards from print and painting competitions, direct artist grants, artist-in residencies, travel grants, research grants, guest artist appointments and elections to distinguished organizations. In September 2015 he was given the Long Haul Award by Visual Arts Newfoundland and Labrador for lifetime service/achievement to the arts of Newfoundland and Labrador.
His artwork is included in over 100 public, corporate and educational collections such as Harvard University, Boston; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka, Kansas; Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Museo de Bellas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The artist lives and works in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where he was Professor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. In January, 2016 he stepped down as Chair of Visual Arts and retired in August, 2016.
My work is narrative in style, and has much in common with literature—poetry in particular—as with the visual precedents set by other artists. I try to create bewildering or intriguing images within each picture, and I often place them in a more or less formal arrangement of theatrical or cartographic composition, and I like to walk the line between objectivity and subjectivity, or between the representational and the non-representational because it helps set up intrigue. The most important element in each picture is a central theme or idea which I try to present in a unique way, hence each work rarely exists as part of a series per se, and so I am free to work on several themes at once. I enjoy making the visual clues that unlock the ideas interesting in themselves—beautiful—even “pretty”. This at once produces pleasing visual effects while veiling the more serious nature of many of the pieces.
Many of my pictures openly deride cynicism and negativism; others are more psychologically “charged” and provocative. I am committed to addressing specific ideas or concepts in my artwork—something which I believe embodies a Western, and specifically. European methodology. I also believe that attention to craft and to skill in execution—components which have a broader cultural appeal—can enhance ideas, provided they work in the service of the ideas and not a decoration alone.
Some notes about various prints in the Archive
Science: The Railway Children, is an homage to Seamus Heaney, Alan Gent the inventor of the polymer adhesive that saved subsequent space shuttles from disaster, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
'The Children Throw Stones at Me' - from 'The Madwoman of Cork Portfollio', I illustrated Patrick Galvins Poem with this series
'Two Ages Of Art' - this image is a visual dialoge between Yoshitoshi's 19th centurary print about a father and son and Jeff Koons's sculpture of he and his wife as a contemporary artwork. I got Koons' permission to appropriate it, as is his philosophy.
'Busy at the Circus' - this images is about me (central seal) working too hard while my kids (small seal) try to get my attention for play.