Headlands Center for the Arts Benefit Auction Features Work by Chicago Artist Samuel Levi Jones
Headlands Center for the Arts, located just north of San Francisco in the rolling Marin Headlands national park, has long supported cutting-edge artists and their creative processes. The organization hosts artists from around the world in its residency program and welcomes the public to open programs that share the work being done on its campus. The organization’s upcoming Benefit Art Auction attests to its high regard within the creative community. Among some 80 artworks for auction is a piece by Samuel Levi Jones, an important Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist.
The Los Angeles Times said of Jones’s work: “His work has integrity, not just in the sense of authenticity but also internal consistency. The physical gestures of its making, the notion of empowerment at its core, and its tremendous tactile vigor are all mutually reinforcing.”
Marrying conceptual rigor, intellectual inquiry, and formal abstraction, Jones explores power structures and the framing of history. He creates expansive pieces from historical material that he “desecrates,” as he puts it, and reimagines. Most often this material is books–encyclopedias, law books, medical texts—the institutional tomes that bear and propagate history through a dominant societal lens, at the expense of devalued and repressed individuals and cultures. He deconstructs the books, stripping out their content, and reconstructs them into formally elegant, enticingly tactile, abstract compositions that invite the viewer to consider what has been omitted or erased, and the attendant struggles between exclusion and equality.
The piece offered in the Headlands auction was created while Jones was working at the East Bay’s Paulson Fontaine Press, in a double nod to Jones’s connection to the Bay Area as a graduate of the MFA program at Mills College in Oakland. In anticipation of the event, we spoke with Jones about Headlands’ impact on the arts ecosystem.
Artsy Auctions: Can you tell us more about the piece that you are donating to the auction?
Samuel Levi Jones: The work that I donated for the benefit was developed through a printmaking project with Paulson Fontaine Press in Berkeley. This is one of several works that we used to create etchings at the press. I have participated once before in the auction. My experience was wonderful. There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and positive energy.
AA: Can you describe how Headlands has impacted the arts community of the Bay Area?
SLJ: Headlands has a positive impact on San Francisco and beyond by offering artists a wonderful setting for creating, and the same for those who appreciate the makings of the artists who visit. Headlands itself is such a wonderful place. While I was in the Bay Area, many artists spoke of Headlands as a highly desirable place to be and work. When a wonderful space such as this exists, it is important to make sure that it continues to thrive.
AA: Why are residency programs like Headlands important for artists?
SLJ: Headlands is amazing because it gives artists an opportunity to work in a space without distractions other than the landscape, which would seem to be an enabler of creativity rather than distraction. I have not yet done the residency myself, but would love to in the future!
Explore Headlands Center for the Arts: Benefit Auction 2018 and bid on 98 artworks and experiences to support Headlands’ mission, artists, and, public programs. Bidding closes on June 6, 2018 at 9:30PM PST. For direct inquiries, you may reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.