For the first time, Clifford Chance will give a solo show to a well known and respected mid-career artist, Peter Jones, who will have use of all the gallery wall space, for his physically small paintings (over 40 works will be shown). The exhibition will be accompanied by a video installation by Aleesa Cohene, which will be shown at the opening and closing events.
The Small Things Matter sees a presentation of Jones’ work in various formats. All of the work is small (oil on canvas) and many works depict very tiny toy objects blown up many times in scale. A toy cast lead beehive in Jones’ studio which is barely bigger than an actual bee is here rendered many times it’s actual size (20x20cm). We can see the chipped paint of the tiny toy as Jones has carefully re-presented the object, as he has done with miniature flowers, caravans and dog houses. The original objects are themselves small physically, and they are objects that depict things that have only a limited value in modern life. Yet these small things (Jones’ paintings) that depict tiny small things that are truly small things, hold for him and us great sentiment and stunning visual impact. They draw us in.
Jones pushes the use of sentiment to its breaking point, where it could easily fall into sentimentality (but does not) by also presenting two other series of works; children’s toy dogs and toy monkey’s. The originals were not real animals but the animals of children’s dreams. They are the image of a nostalgic past, that each of us had, or wished to have had, that of comfort in the arms of a non-judgemental friend. Dogs lick you when you are sad, and monkeys are the beast within us that are sometimes more noble that we can ever hope to be. Perhaps each of us had such a toy or some significant object (think of Orson Well’s use of Rosebud) and it is this recognition of our past self in other images that is so startling. As a grown adult, these works remind us how quickly and unexpectedly we can all be thrown back into childhood, which for most LGBTQ children is not exactly an easy ride, if it ever is for any child.
Jones’ still life works are shown in conjunction with the travelling exhibition Nature Morte. One of his monkeys can be seen in the show at the Bohusläns Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden (May 7 – August 28) and the exhibition will be at London’s Guildhall Art Gallery next fall.
The exhibition also features a large-scale video installation by Aleesa Cohene, which sees her use found feature film clips to create a fictive love story. By cleverly editing extremely recognisable actresses (in romantic scenes), Cohene makes a new narrative. Women who were originally talking to a man are now seen talking to another woman in a highly charged (if not erotic) dialogue. We will project her film onto a large wall in the reception space at almost the scale of a small cinema, and added to that, will be the element of smell. As part of the installation, Cohene has made a perfume that will be dispersed into the exhibition space at regular intervals, as it was in the original installation of the work in 2009. This will be the first time the work has been shown in the UK.
Clifford Chance Annual Pride Art Exhibition 2016 8 June – 15 July Clifford Chance 10 Upper Bank Street London E14 5JJ England
The exhibition is open by appointment