Leaves of GrassJulie Jones Exhibition

The Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place
Running from 8th - 30th July

Reviewed by E. Hughes

The paintings by Julie Jones, who is based in Arena Studios in Liverpool, and who recently exhibited in Cologne as part of the Eight Days a Week project between the two dockside cities, are unusual to say the least; many of them are reminiscent of perhaps looking through a bus window when it has been pouring with rain, and all you see is a misshapen but nevertheless intriguing and often distinctive collage of colours running one into the other. Two of them are virtually identical, called ‘Leaves of Grass 1’ and ‘Leaves of Grass 2’.

The exhibition as a whole features large and small scale work in oil on canvas together with works on paper and work using various printmaking processes.

To describe some of the oil on canvas artwork would be to say they were a futuristic Turner, if he’d lived in a neon nightmare of the 21st Century. One of my favourites is ‘Woven Light’ which captures a stormy moment over a hill - a freeze frame lost forever. I liked particularly a small oil on canvas called ‘The Docks’; it could almost be Stonehenge. There is a sense that Jones is finding her voice, and capturing a style that defines what she wants to express.

“Drawing becomes a guide to discover another, more intangible image through paint,” said Jones. “I attempt with my paintings to use the sensory and seductive qualities of colour, light and texture to explore the continuing relevance of landscape, place and natural phenomena as a poetic image.”

Art, like many other things, has its time and place; if you are in the right frame of mind, a picture, a poem, a song or whatever, you can capture the whole mood of it, and you might feel that a particular piece or work of art is wonderful.

If you are not in the mood however, what might be a genuinely created vision, could leave you indifferent or cold. And, certainly with paintings and poetry and other art forms you have to actually engage with, there is a ‘dropping off’ point, a time when you have had enough for one day.

Nevertheless, the Julie Jones exhibition works well, and some of her paintings capture moments and emotions that perhaps cannot be expressed in mere words.