If Reece Jones’ monochrome charcoal landscapes appear imposing and a little eerie, you won’t be surprised to find that their inspirations aren’t quite of this world. Jones envisions beautifully classic landscapes as seen through the video game-trained eye of a fan of the post apocalyptic 80s movie Mad Max 2 and the deeply symbolic narratives of Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky. All Visual Arts, a small gallery promiting contemporary art in London’s King’s Cross, will play host to Jones’ latest solo show Control.
Test It comprises work depicting dark fantastical landscapes thrashed out with an almost obsessively repetitive charcoal rubbing and erasing technique. We caught up with the London-based artist this week and he explained the thinking behind his latest body of work.
“The landscapes are fantasy. They are informed by a massive archive of images I have in my office. I’ve got images that reference atmospheres, weather systems, which show trees, light and structures. I have boxes marked ‘Bombed Buildings’, or ‘Road Bridges’, or ‘Nocturnal Film Stills (interior / exterior)’ and so on. When I’m embarking on a new piece I’ll visit the archive and maybe pull a few of those pictures out to set the scene or give me some visual inspiration. I will then research specific places and details and take my own photos if I need to.”
“I’ve been interested in landscape for a while, more specifically, in invented landscapes. I’ve always loved certain film directors’ use of space. As a kid, I was more enchanted by the suburban territories of E.T. and The Goonies than I was by their narratives. I love the way Tarkovsky used place to identify a troubling psychological state or the way Spielberg uses territories on the fringes of mundanity to explore fear or awe.”
As many have commented, the work is unremittingly dark. “Colour is sneaking back in to my studio," Reece says. "It wasn’t something I thought about really, not for a long time. I was more interested in process and effect. But now I take a few more photos than I used to and I have a few film projects emerging. Plus, I play about with watercolour a lot and layers of polymer glazes. These haven’t been strong enough to show until very recently but they are getting there. We’ll see what happens next.” Reece Jones, Control Test opens at All Visual Arts, 2 Omega Place, King's Cross, London this Friday, March 23 and runs until April 21.