Laura Jones Too Much, Not Enough

1 – 18 August 2018

Laura Jones Back to You, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Back to You, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

1 /
Laura Jones Healing Flower, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Healing Flower, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

2 /
Laura Jones Like Skin You Fall In, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Like Skin You Fall In, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

3 /
Laura Jones Hope's Cactus, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Hope's Cactus, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

4 /
Laura Jones Never a Wallflower, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Never a Wallflower, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

5 /
Laura Jones Binty Sisay, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Binty Sisay, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

6 /
Laura Jones I Only Like Flowers, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones I Only Like Flowers, 2018, oil on linen, 183 x 152 cm
SOLD

7 /
Laura Jones Gaslights, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Gaslights, 2018, oil on linen, 122 x 102 cm
SOLD

8 /
Laura Jones Floral Cave, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Floral Cave, 2018, oil on linen, 122 x 102 cm
SOLD

9 /
Laura Jones Dance Too Much, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Dance Too Much, 2018, oil on linen, 61 x 51 cm
SOLD

10 /
Laura Jones Full Credit to the Boys, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Full Credit to the Boys, 2018, oil on linen, 55 x 46 cm
SOLD

11 /
Laura Jones Kurrajong Camellias, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Kurrajong Camellias, 2018, oil on linen, 55 x 46 cm
SOLD

12 /
Laura Jones Overthinking It, 2018
SOLD

Laura Jones Overthinking It, 2018, oil on linen, 55 x 46 cm
SOLD

13 /

‘The roses this June will be different roses

Even though you cut an armful and come in saying,

            ‘Here are the roses,’                    

As though the same blooms had come back, white freaked with red

And heavily scented.’

James Schuyler, Hymn to Life (1974)

 

 

When Wordsworth wrote about wandering through fields of daffodils, little did he know that most would remember the daffodils, not the gentle simile that comes right beforehand—lonely as a cloud. His ‘host of golden daffodils’ crowd out the previous line, their trumpet bells overwhelming even the poet, so much so that Wordsworth will be forever associated with the bright dance of a yellow flower, despite his Romantic leanings towards the melancholic. Flowers can do that—such eruptions of colour having a tendency to overtake, to impose their presence (even from the corner of a room), to elicit soft sighs and an overflow of sentiment at the first petal dropping from the vase.

For Too Much, Not Enough Laura Jones returns to the central image of the flower, (re)considering her compulsion to set it in paint. Here Jones is toying with, and pushing against, the long history of the flower’s relationship to the still life, as well as its relegation to the domain of the domestic, the everyday, the hyper-feminine and the sentimental. These works defy such classification: instead they move towards a kind of half abstraction, with Jones removing or painting out the conventional trappings of the still life (the arrangement in a vase, the table, the room, decidedly absent). Jones’ works exist in delicate balance, and yet, like Wordsworth’s daffodils, the flowers become the sole occupant of the frame—they are everything, all at once.

But I like to think that Jones looks at flowers as a poet sees them: they are never merely just flowers, but time-trappers and time-leakers / introspective containers / memory keepers / avenues for joy, pain, hope, desire, and need. The collection of flowers depicted in Too Much, Not Enough are directly connected to Jones, whether by chance or personal history: there are the dropped camellias on rain-soaked asphalt, the fierce magenta tips of a flowering pot plant, nurtured and cared for by a beloved matriarch, and the flowers given as gifts—either as offerings of sympathy or markers of celebration. And just as the poet finds in the flower an ally of description and metaphor, Jones sees its ready-made kinship with paint, its natural play of colour, contrast and texture.

In James Schuyler’s long-form lyric poem Hymn to Life, his meditations on the progression of time are delicately organised around the life cycles and seasons of flowers: we begin with snowdrops and move to crocuses, ‘mouse-eared chickweed’, roses, periwinkles, violets, daffodils, lilacs, dandelions, azaleas, magnolias—and end in May, ‘not a flowering month.’ Schuyler crafts together a web of daily routine, ‘ordinary household pain’, and the reminders of transience and mortality: ‘The impermanence of permanence, is that all there is?’[1] And as much as Jones’ Too Much, Not Enough is about rebelling against the constraints of the still life and excavating personal history, it is also weaving a similar sort of web—the inscription of specific flowers on canvas always implying a larger attempt to mark out time, to freeze a moment of fragile and excessive beauty before it gives way to the wilt.

 

Catalogue essay by Naomi Riddle

 

1 James Schuyler, ‘Hymn to Life’ (1974) in James Schuyler: Selected Poems, (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2007), p. 149

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