By Wren Miller, Cohort ’17
“Making and unmaking, never something made” -Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Making work and having the work unmake the artist. This is one of the driving forces behind the creations of IDSVA’s Samantha Jones. The first year student had a busy start to the spring semester, a trip to NYC for her first residency with the school and a solo exhibition at Bushwick’s Amos Eno Gallery. As a mother, professor and artist, Jones spends a lot of time subverting her own vision of things in order to make.
For Jones’ exhibition “Perpetual Becoming,” the centerpiece is the recurring video of the wake of a ship. Although video is a new medium for the artist, she thinks of it as a constant moving image, rather than a narrative as many do. In this work, the idea of time and the cyclical nature of things, clash with the real pull of the future in spite of looking at the past, the wake. Upon reading Henri Bergson this semester, specifically his notion of ‘duration’ and his cinematographic version of time, the artist was able to affirm what she had made.
Another medium of focus for the artist has been wood. Upon getting into IDSVA, Jones immediately bought herself a set of chisels. She knew she needed a way to carve her ideas, a way to work back into a substance that is not words to get the idea back in her hands. She thinks of the chisels as a gift to herself, a gift of armor. She combined small pieces that she hand carved with a large slab of Ash revealing a pooling of parabolic forms, similar to that of the wake in the video.
In simultaneously creating and researching, Jones has noticed a dialogue between her hands and mind that expands into the collective endeavors of philosophers before her. Her readings have become both an affirmation and an unmaking of her physical works. The multiplicities continue to unravel before her.
Aside from wood, Jones incorporates borosilicate glass, thread, encaustic and beeswax, glow-in-the-dark fluorescent pigments and black lights. To say her work is electric would be an understatement. Her visions include the concept of glowing flesh and she leaves no medium off limits to express just that.
For Jones, the exhibition is a complete installation where the works speak to the lighting, the sheer scale of her sculptural forms, the momentum of the video loop, all the way to the phenomenology of walking into the space. She does not view it as the typical curated selection of individual works but rather one whole expression of unity.
In addition to the show itself, Jones hosted a salon on the closing night, discussing themes related to the show, including time, the sublime, and the creative process. She says, “I believe that as an artist philosopher, my task is to bring the dialogue back into the art space. The salon was fantastic. Over absinthe punch and ‘sublime key lime pie,’ we had 20 people fully engaged in discussion, where the show itself was neither the center of attention, nor the decor. Instead we were in active dialogue with everything and everyone in the room, a true multiplicity of experience.”