Many years ago I took up the practice of Yoga during three important periods of my life. When I first moved away from home for college, when I moved to Los Angeles 2001 and when I moved out of west L.A. in 2006. The benefits of yoga and meditation were important keys to me adjusting to my new surroundings and new routines, and when I look back on those times one of the most challenging aspects of the practice was clearing the mind to focus on the movement and the breath. Eventually mindfulness mediation played a significant role in my attempts to overcome that hurdle and I am forever indebted to my mom for always being a proponent of mediation. In a very roundabout way this brings me to the artist of the day, Jennie C. Jones.
Jones is a minimal abstract painter that incorporates sonically manipulated jazz compositions into environments that harmonize jazz and art. Visually I was immediately drawn to her work for her use of cool, grey neutral tones and use of abstract music materials that deliver an abstract graphic style that’s reminiscent of iconic Blue Note album covers designed by Reid Miles.
The Blue Note albums and Jones’ work share an effective fusion of music, art and graphic design. There’s a sense of quiet intimacy that comes from experiencing the beautiful visuals captured in the photography, typography and artistic design of a Blue Note cover coupled with the incredible talent line up on the recording label in the ’50’s and ’60s; Jones captures that quiet introspection in her shows which feature moody, meditative sound installations that accompany her paintings, sculpture and assemblage.
Los Angeles is still waiting for a comprehensive* show of her work, but the meantime her website is stunning and it features a body of work that combines materials and objects familiar to audiophiles with an artistic style that “captures the void” like John McLaughlin. I particularly loved the eery high-pitched sine waves that give way to deep bass tones in From the Low which feels dramatically cinematic, with the emotional resonance of the first few chords in Rangar Kjartanson’s the Visitors. From the Low also makes a political statement observing the fact that black artists are largely absent from modernism and minimalism.
Today I was tempted to simply show Jennie Jones’ work with a proclamation that I love it, but after spending time with the simple question “Why?”, I was reminded of the power of quiet, meditative moments in life and art (and I need to get back into Yoga).
*L.A. curators, please bring Jones out West!