"Revelations" an Exhibition: 17 March - 16 April 2022
24 Company Street, Christiansted St. Croix USVI 00820.
Cane Roots Art Gallery Cane Roots Art Gallery is delighted to announce a new series of paintings by John Obafemi Jones.
In his latest solo exhibition, ‘Revelations,’ John Obafemi Jones explores tradition, unity, and power themes. With a reflective focus, this compilation of paintings sees the artist reflecting upon his experiences by examining various rituals, remembrances, and experiences. Musical rhythms resonate throughout the body of work, unifying the exhibition and advancing Obafemi Jones’ pursuit of crafting a visual language representing the formal qualities inherent in jazz and blues music.
The majority of works in this collection comprise either a small group of figures or an individual figure, depicted in motion, dancing to an unheard beat. These paintings are joyous - the spirit and zest of the dancers escape the confines of the canvases and infect the viewer. Their movement is intentional, and this, combined with the potency of the paintings, informs us of the ritualistic nature of what we are viewing. Obafemi Jones’ figures are potent forces of nature. Often, females fill the picture space and are shown caught in an intensely passionate moment, at one with themselves, their bodies, and the earth. For example, in She Dance, the female figure is shown with her head cast down towards the ground, her torso turned in motion, and her arms reaching to the heavens. Although faceless, she commands the picture space, her compelling figure empowered and mighty. The artist’s composition and painterly rendering of the figure accentuates these elements of their character. Positioned centrally and dressed in white, our focus is immediately drawn to this dominant woman. In addition, the dotted application of various shades of blue paint that comprises the background creates a swirling motion that situates the figure in another dimension. This background pattern, combined with the gestural paintwork that specifies the swish of the woman’s skirt, works together to draw the viewer into the swirling nature of her dance.
Throughout his career, John Obafemi Jones has explored comparisons between the emotional and literal qualities innate in music and the visual arts. In ‘Revelations,’ the artist furthers comparisons between the acoustic rates of jazz and the visual feel of his paintings by exploring iterations of the individual and the group. Like the lone soloist in a jazz collective, Obafemi Jones’ paintings showcase individual figures dancing alone. Previously describing how within the context of a free-flowing jazz solo, ‘the solo has its unique language, vocabulary, and grammar, yet it remains connected to the band,’ Obafemi Jones depicts figures independently, yet their sense of connectedness remains. Obafemi Jones’ painting practice is energized and dynamic like his subject matter. Within each piece, he combines various techniques, including drawing, mark-making, patterning, gestural brushwork, and large expanses of flattened color. These techniques coalesce to emphasize the spirited atmosphere within his paintings. Rhythm pulsates through the work of John Obafemi Jones. We feel it in his paintings of musicians that gather together for an impromptu jam session; in the dancers, who Obafemi Jones depicts caught in a moment of carefree joy; and in his application of paint that dances throughout his canvases.
About the artist was born in Ellaville, GA, in 1950. However, John Obafemi Jones migrated to Brooklyn, New York, at an early age. His precocious talent for art was spotted by his junior high school teacher, who encouraged him to attend drawing classes at The Met. Obafemi Jones continued his early talent, studying first at the Pratt Institute before transferring to Fisk University, to pursue further knowledge of African American artists. After college, he returned to New York to establish a studio in Tribeca before settling on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, in 1979, where he lives and works today.
For further information, please contact: Cane Roots Art Gallery
Phone number (340) 718- 4929