by Christopher Hart Chambers
My father had a brain tumor. His little sister, my aunt Peg, also had an acoustic neuroma. Her’s went malignant and she died. The fifth neurosurgeon screwed a specially built helmet onto Dad’s skull to blast his growth with radiation from 360 degrees. It saved his life but left him incapacitated. He died ten years later from diabetes after laying around on the couch depressed and getting fat – for ten years. He had been a dashing sorta’ guy. How much television can you watch?
Mary Jones’s exhibition combines x rays and attractive abstract art. Brushstrokes. Hazes. Painting. Stencils. Scans. One layered over another: Renaissance Portrait #2, Beauty and reality. Fate and frailty. At the opening reception at this tiny gallery visitors bumped into the larger canvases hanging on the walls. I could not help but notice. Dream Screen Patrick. I said nothing at the time. What good would that do after the fact? Like beeping your scolding horn at a car after they already made a dangerous move on the road. Everything is abstract. What is more real than a Xerox of your insides? A bunch of lines and shapes that make up your life. Everything you are. Then there are the colors. Mensch. The fleeting forms that become our existences, our lives; everyone, everything you will ever know. Every flower, every eye, nose, foot – abstract shapes that come to mean something to us, those figments of bones and tumors and cells and, that is what we are. Pretty colors and brutal facts. Melancholia. This exhibition lays it out quite plainly: Beautiful, magnificent, sad, painful, over. All of the colors of our lives, the shapes of our bones, the contours of our minds – because several of the x-rays are of brains. The abstract expressionist gestures and flailings, Diana’s Beautiful Brain, that’s us. The hues, shapes, that become all that we will ever know or understand, and what is inside of us, what comprises us, are more of the same; however banal the photo imagery of our insides are. Inside and outside, or, perhaps more accurately, the other way around. The Here Thing, That those carnal, factual images can behove the imaginings, the days, the entireties of us, as individuals, of all of mankind’s history, of all the universes, of all of everything . . .
Mary Jones, Travel Light, High Noon Gallery, February 7 – March 10, 2019, New York City