Marlborough Fine Art is pleased to present Colour Matters, an exhibition of new sculptural works by British artist Allen Jones. Jones first showed with Marlborough Fine Art in 1971, and this marks his fourth exhibition with the gallery.
One of the most significant British artists of the last century, working from the early 1960s to the present day, Jones explores the representation of the human figure. Together, the works in this exhibition offer a new perspective on the female figure.
During the 1960s, Jones developed a stylized visual language for painting the human figure which marked a departure from 19th century artistic precepts. As the artist’s renditions became more volumetric and pneumatic, he turned to sculpture to create works that were truly three-dimensional; Jones’ sexually charged fibreglass sculptures depicting life-size images of women as furniture emerged. Since then, he has continued to make work that takes as its starting point the possibilities of the human body.
Highlights in the exhibition include Green Shoes and Black Shoes (both 2015), sculptures that explore abstraction and figuration in a less descriptive manner than much of Jones’ past work. Totemic columns rendered in transparent Perspex contain real clothing, including a pair of 60s vintage high-heels and a green sequin bikini. The apparel’s positioning suggests the shape of a feminine figure, whilst abstracted cut-out acrylic heads are painted in a range of blue, pink and yellow tones that seem to flow. In Jones’ Queen works, abstract figures are executed in timber and coated in glossy spray-paint to produce reflective curved surfaces. The pieces draw parallels with some of the artists’ early works. Jones first started working with Perspex and fibreglass over 50 years ago, whilst living in America; these new materials provided the artist with a fresh escape from established art-historical expectations.
In further works, Jones revisits the subject of Kate Moss. Jones photographed the model for his iconic portrait Body Armour (2013), depicting Moss wearing a body cast sculpture he made in 1978. In the series A Model Model (2015) Jones explores recurrent preoccupations of the relationship between colour, material and form, including figurative representations of Kate Moss. Sculptures of Moss are featured in the exhibition: one uses a glass reinforced composite head of the model paired with a wood body, and another a cast resin head with a polished stainless steel body.
Also in the exhibition are works highlighting the range of pictorial invention evident in Jones’ practice. In The Blue Gymnast WIP (2014), a fibreglass mannequin of a female figure wears a skin-tight blue leotard using a varying colour palette of blues. In Let’s Dance (2015) figures are executed in abstract shapes made from interlocking sheets of aluminium that twirl into the three-dimensional.
Over the past 40 years Jones’ work has been exhibited around the world in both solo and group exhibitions. A major retrospective took place at Royal Academy, London, in 2014. Prior to this, retrospectives of his work were held at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, travelling to the Serpentine Gallery, London and to four venues in Germany; the ICA, London, which travelled to the Fruit Market, Edinburgh and Arnolfini, Bristol; an exhibition of Jones’ complete graphic works occurred at the Barbican, London, which was subsequently toured worldwide by the British Council.