White Poles, 2003 fluorescent tubes and fittings dimensions variable
PROVENANCE Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney The Verghis Collection, London
EXHIBITED Light Sensitive Material: Works from the Verghis Collection, a Bathurst Regional Gallery touring exhibition; Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, 4 February - 18 March 2012; Moree Plains Gallery, Moree, 26 March - 6 May 2012; Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn, 24 May - 1 July 2012; Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Hawkesbury, 13 July - 26 August 2012; The Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie, 6 December 2012 - 20 January 2013; Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth, 1 February - 10 March 2013; Grafton Regional Gallery, Grafton, 27 March - 12 May 2013, Shoalhaven City Arts Centre, Nowra, 27 May - 14 July 2013
In 2003, Gallery Barry Keldoulis held the exhibition Jonathan Jones from which this work was acquired. In the essay which accompanied the exhibition, Hetti Perkins noted: 'The incandescent sculptures and sewn images by Sydney-based Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri artist Jonathan Jones weave together the many strands of contemporary Australian experience. At first sight they exist as coolly minimal forms, transformations of the everyday materials of cotton thread and electrical paraphernalia into installations of compelling beauty. Yet, like the seductive landscapes of Western Desert artists that celebrate the travels of the Tingari ancestors, Jones's lightmaps chart the journeys and indicia of connections that characterise our present day social networks.
By night, Sydney is a city of lights, mirrored in the blackness of the harbour it surrounds. This setting was the scene for one of the most enduringly evocative accounts from the days of the First Fleet when early colonists observed from the shores of Port Jackson the Cadigal people night fishing, and the constellation of iridescent lights cast in the still dark water by the fires in their canoes. For the 2003 Primavera exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art - appropriately located on Circular Quay - Jones constructed a vast landscape of suspended light globes representing the north headland of Bondi Beach. In graphing the lights that mark the nocturnal contours of human habitation, Jones reversed the role of the observer by creating a light panorama of present day occupation.
Concepts of light and dark, like black and white, are riven with prejudice and compromised by shadow. Jones creates a conceptual framework to 'express the symbiotic relationship of community and the individual'. And, although the resonance of light suggests the living human presence, that when united beams more brightly, so too the works serve as a memento mori to those whose past lives continue to light our way.
Jones's intervention in the mechanical processes of electricity and manufacturing infuse his systems of representation with an organic energy. Through repetition, Jones's patterns release a kinetic force analogous with the cumulative glow of clustered light bulbs. In Aboriginal ceremonial life, where participation is structured according to the position of the individual within the community, cultural affirmation is conducted and achieved through reiteration. From within these nuclei of society like the collective brilliance of overlapping light sources emanates a radiance that illuminates the darkness that surrounds us.'