Painted Dioramas and
Object Portraits

Remebering Nature

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Remembering Nature: Birds flew, fish swam, oil on linen, 24" x 48", 2008

Both the dioramas and the portraits of individual objects are set up in the studio in a shallow box with spot lighting and then recreated in oil on linen or canvas as detailed life-size paintings.  The scenes are occupied by standins for living things — animal statuary, artificial plants, train set models, mannequins, and toys. These are combined with additional connotative objects such as barbed wire, ribbon, and text. The objects often have text in the background paint, producing a texture with a not so subliminal message. The tableaux are generated from an interest in the belief systems that we construct for ourselves — the clichés that help make sense of life, together with the strength found within powerlessness. Implied in the work is a sense of loss; a loss of faith, and an anxiety over the loss of our place in the natural world.




Fabric Subjects

  Better life, etc.

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    Better Life, etcetera (a covering for a hole in the wall), 84" x 60", oil on linen, 1986  

These paintings were made over a 16 year span. They are carefully made paintings, with arrangements of fabric being central. They acknowledge women's work while utilizing contemporary artmaking practices. Intended with this is an acknowledgement of the existential process of making time consuming work. They were most often finished with decorative frames containing inlaid stone, tile, shell, Crow style bead work, or woodburning. These frames were chosen for their connotative qualities and to give the work a greater sense of "objectness." The paintings were influenced by a transient upbringing, as Jones moved with her family (her father was a crop-duster and they followed his seasonal work) thoughout the rural west, at times under difficult circumstances.





  SFAI Install view

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    A Direct and Indirect Collaboration, Katherine Huffaker Jones, Therese May, and Tony May, San Francisco Art Institute, Walter McBean Gallery, 1976  

This collaboration between Katherine Huffaker Jones and Therese May occurred over 2 years. In Phase 1, Jones chose a piece from Therese May's photo derived quilt work as a subject for painting. May responded in phase 2 by making a quilted portrait of Jones as Jones worked on a painting of May's Lamp quilt. May included a painting of Jones's in the background. Phase 3 consisted of Jones painting a quilted portrait that May had made from a photograph of a mutual friend and her dog, which the two artists had taken together. Once completed, the two works were taken apart at the seams and reassembled so each piece would have both painted and quilted segments, one stretched and hung as a painting and one quilted and hung as a quilt. The exhibition above included the work of Tony May, who had made a "quilt" of Readers Digest book covers on the floor of the gallery, in response to his wife Therese May's quilt work. He also tossed a quilt that Jones had made for a subject for one of her earlier paintings (also in the show) into the hull of his Crusoe boat, making an indirect connection to Jones's work as well.