In large-scale paintings and smaller works on paper Jones continues his depiction of the flamboyant, open-ended adventures of an ambiguous time-traveling hero. Part Pierrot, part Flash-Gordon, the hero is cast here as theatrical hussar in an imagined world in which past and future elide. In Uranium, this cycle of Jones’ romantic and poetic pictures present a mythic world of archetypal characters and epic, Romantic love.
With imagery and palette reminiscent of 1930s comic books channeled through 19th century French painting, Phillip Jones’ synthetic mythology collages together cultural and historical motifs. Jones here examines in paint the relationship between science and art, the rational and the intuitive, differing patterns of representation and the nature of love, with influences ranging from the Fauves to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.
In Orion, a dandy cavalier in a Bauhaus gazes across the gallery toward a girl in a lurid, radioactive garden; an oblique romance in a universe of paint and pattern. In Domino, a giant bird alights through an open-window and a science-fiction future erupts in an eighteenth century mansion. The hero, here dressed in a white officer’s uniform is polymath, scientist and artist. In The Vision, the empty-eyed and odd-eyed hero and heroine seduce one another at a jazz-age garden party submerged in creamy paint.
Uranium is only the latest of Jones multivalent explorations of painting and history. The themes, however, remain universal: courtship and love, heroism and reason.