Locust Jones: A Descent Into the Mass Media Maelström
“He saw that the Maelström is a beautiful and awesome creation.” (Edgar Allan Poe)
Edgar Allan Poe’s well-known tale, “A Descent into the Maelström” (1841) is the report by a fisherman from the Lofoten archipelago of the monstrous whirling grandeur and cruelty of an enormous whirlpool into which he plunges, but does not drown.
Locust Jones opens himself to the endless procession of text and images from the web, TV, radio, shop- windows, advertising, magazines, and newspapers. He absorbs and processes them, and then draws what has impressed him most, in an artistic process of radical contemporary witness. He is a fighter who brings to paper, with heroic immediacy the visual and linguistic assaults of the media vortex to which he and all of us are subjected.
His drawings are a “stream of consciousness” which gives shape to the confusion and unease in the face of the catastrophic processing of our world and artistically reverses it. In an interview, Jones said that his art functions as a “cathartic biographical diary” which, in an obsessive stream of pictures, attempts to gain control of the flood of pictures and news. There is great power in his drawings – they are expressive, conceptual, tragic-comic, affirmative, and resistant caricatures. He dispenses with any attempt to ingratiate himself or show calligraphic refinement. The power of his line-drawing and painting works is obvious, but in reality his art penetrates much deeper.
It is only logical that Jones has moved into work that is much longer in format in recent years; he decided not to cut his rolls of paper any more, but simply to go on unrolling them as soon as the ink is dry. This artistic decision has led him to the exhibition of an extremely long roll of paper: “Bankrupt, Infuriated, and Confused,” which is 100 × 10,000 cm, on which he worked from September 2011 to August 2012. Exposed on this 100-meter-long drawing are the scoundrels and lies, the crises and wars, depictions of Batman, and self-portraits from an entire year. The flow of time is artistically caught in the names and faces, headlines and scandals, in a wild mix and without any order.
Locust Jones works with ink, graphite, and gouache, on extremely durable Italian Magnani paper, spontaneously and without preparatory sketches. Here the course of a year acquires a physicalpresence and appears to have been unrolled in the form of an ornamental vortex. “Bankrupt , Infuriated, and Confused" dominates the gallery space in a great, expansive spiral.