‘Laura Jones- Still Life’, a solo exhibition at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery
10 April 2015 – 24 May 2015
Hawkesbury Regional Gallery
300 George Street, Deerubbin Centre
Windsor NSW 2756
Catalogue essay by Kathleen von Witt:
There is something inherently pleasing about still life paintings. Flower arrangements, especially. The combination of capturing the colours, the form and the transience of cut flowers in paint has an almost universal appeal. When people discuss the ‘death of painting’, I think they should add a caveat ‘except flowers’.
Flowers in art bring to mind the long history of painting, as well as the long history of gardening, of botany, the sociology of the home, and even the expansion of Europe with the bringing exotic species from around the world to be cultivated for our pleasure. From Giotto to Van Gogh flowers have had a central presence in art. Sometimes they can be allegorical, making claims of romance or piety, courage or fidelity; other times as scientific, botanical documentation of species types, and indication of wealth – the Dutch tulips spring to mind; or the exotic, like the fynbos of South Africa and the coastal health of western Australia with their Ericas, Salvias and Proteaceae. Notwithstanding the joyousness of painting to capture the colour and essence of flowers – such as Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and Matisse’s fauvist arrangements. Such paintings radiate out from the canvas a brightness, a joyousness that captures the essence of the flowers, from the sunlight and the ground that is more than just their form.
Laura Jones’ paintings have come from these robust traditional platforms and yet bring a bright contemporaneousness to them as well. As a young artist who has worked as a florist, she brings a tangible femininity to the works, as well as a strong painterly eye. She isn’t afraid of bright colours, of strong compositions and of interesting angles. Combined with a confidence and spontaneity of brushstroke and technique her still lifes are more than the sum of their parts.
Bold composition with contrasting background highlights the floral imagery and draws the eye to the flowers in a way different to those more formal arrangements of flowers by artists such as Margaret Preston, and Cressida Campbell.
Although Laura Jones’ pictures are not intended as botanical illustrations, they all contain the essence of the plant or flower: the soft sensuous petals of her roses, the bright reds and orange of the Zinnias as though in the full sun of their native Africa, contrasted with a black background to enhance the colour.
Colour is the key to Jones’ painting, and the artist has an eye for the exact nuance of colour exemplifying a plant, such as a flowering gum, or the leaves of a grevillea. The compositions are delightful in their fresh and exuberant nature: the three vases Durian and Flannel Flower Still Life, and the joyful juxtaposition of species are enchanting.
This exhibition lifts the spirits as a walk through the bush or garden filled with flowers would, and invites the viewer to enjoy these delightful works. Jones’ progression as an artist exemplifies the importance of having a dedicated studio practice and Hawkesbury Regional Gallery is honoured to be able to show her work.
Kathleen von Witt
Hawkesbury Regional Gallery