Thanks for visiting my website. I write about the dilemmas, propositions, afflictions and quirks that life emits. I’m still finding my way, but if you’d like to know more about me and my work, you’ll find much of it here.
A Time of Gifts: Partick Leigh Fermor and the memoir
As a form of literature, the memoir has often struck me as an odd. The author assembles a small museum of personal artifacts for the purpose of describing a story. The writing is somewhat feigned: episodes have the ring of fiction, and we must suspend disbelief that life and narrative have intersected so well.
Review of “Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France” at the Ashmolean
Modernism has a habit of returning, of seeming pertinent as a bearer of explanations, long after its paradigms have been eclipsed. Changes in artistic epoch are like the processing speed of computers: they are likely to increase in pace over time, pushing older models aside as defunct. From the fifteenth to the eighteenth century there were perhaps three or four movements (Renaissance, Baroque, Roccoco, Noeclassical). From 1870 to the present there have been nearly forty.
Review of ‘The Human Document: The Photography of Persuasion from 1930s America to Present Day’ at Mead Gallery, Coventry
There are few social-documentary photographs more well known, nor more heavily plundered for significance, than those of rural America from the era of the Great Depression. Black-and-white shots of sharecroppers, cotton pickers and economic refugees from the deep-south, the photographs contained in this exhibition have become part of a sort of American folklore, a complex heritage that has engaged sociologists, art historians and critical theorists in broad scope.
Review of Barbara Walker’s ‘Shock and Awe’ at mac Birmingham
Walker’s drawings are expert. Tonal values between light and shadow create not just realistic form but also express the conditions of climate: the air of the dusty barracks, the short shadows of a noon sun, the heat and tedium of manual work.
Leonard Cohen Has Died
Leonard Cohen has died. I can think of no-one whose specific blend of personal traits has inspired me so strongly. He always bore an attitude that I have seen nowhere else, a combination of discordant attributes that, in the harmony of his method, seemed entirely consonant. The novelist Tom Robbins perhaps caught it best, when he compared to Cohen to the strange concoction of Zorba the Buddha: “Such a man knows the value of the dharma and the value of the deutschemark, knows how much to tip a waiter in a Paris nightclub and how many times to bow in a Kyoto shrine.” Robbins is describing a fantasy figure, but I agree with his instinct to reach for the apparently contradictory to capture Leonard’s style.
I’m happy to say I’ve recently been published in the literary magazine Firewords Quarterly, whose recent issue has as its theme ‘secrets’. Firewords publishes short stories and illustrations, four times a year, and is fast growing as an indie publisher of repute. My own story is a work titled Meteors, a piece I am very proud to share as my contribution to the latest issue.
Copies can be purchased here.
Christopher P Jones on art
‘Representations, if they have any use, must be selective in the reality they show. Abstraction furnishes them (news reports, maps, artworks) with insight. A representation must maintain its distance from the reality it replicates, for it is a rarefied incarnation.’ – What is Abstration in Art?