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Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update, in the Cornish Main Gallery. Viewer interacting with "Led" 1976, oil on canvas, 66x66. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. The artist backed by his work "Greek Beach" 1991, oil on canvas 58x66 1/4. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Alumna Babbette McGeady of Pendleton House walks past "Penedo Spring" 1996, oil on canvas, 38x31, courtesy of Mark Sherman and Jennifer Davis. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Fay Jones, also a noted Northwest artist, center. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Exhibition goers "reflected" in the work "Picnic" 2011, oil on canvas, 61x73. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Curator Beth Sellars, center, with programs; behind them, "Garden Girls III" 2004, oil on canvas, 57x55. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Kid seeming to demonstrate the expansiveness of the work to her dad; left, "Greek Beach". Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Cornish professors Robert Campbell (left) and Preston Wadley match the intensity of "Cairo" 1984, oil on canvas, 60x68. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Robert C. Jones Retrospective Open at Cornish

: Robert C. Jones: An Update. Lost in the paint: "Trace" 1980, oil on canvas, 78x78 1/2, courtesy of Tim and Susan Jones. Photo by Mark Bocek.

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CLOSING SOON: With works of “passion, pure vision and immersive color,” Robert C. Jones lights up the Cornish Main Gallery.

UPDATE: Don’t miss this important retrospective of a major NW artist closing March 8.

In reading background on the work of Robert C. Jones, the word that comes up again and again is “gestural.” Cruising around the Cornish Main Gallery, soaking in the opening of this new, major retrospective exhibition, the truth of this descriptor is obvious. Everywhere exhibition-goers are framed by the canvases as though in a kaleidoscopic hall of mirrors, the paintings reflecting the curve of a calf here, the bend of an elbow there, the color of a dress over there, the negative space of a black leather jacket across the way.  In every direction, the viewers seem to enter and exit the viewed. The artist has seemingly distilled the essence of things that are to be seen in the world, especially the human form, and rendered them with an inner glow. The happy result is that everyone looks damn good standing alongside the canvasses of Robert C. Jones — in fact, they look as though they were meant to be there all along. Moving through the beautifully realized exhibition space, it becomes hard to imagine the paintings without the viewers. The effect is extraordinary, and the people gathered at the opening on January 16 seem almost champagne-giddy with it all.

The exhibition is Robert C. Jones: An Update, and it is a curatorial tour de force by Beth Sellars. The paintings were gathered from a number of private collections.  The experience of this mingling of major canvases by the seminal Northwest artist is available for viewing through March 8.

Sellars is the curator of the Suyama Space, an extraordinary exhibition space in Seattle. Last summer, as she recounts, she was approached by Cable Griffith with an idea. Griffith is Cornish’s gallery and exhibitions curator and an adjunct member of the arts faculty. Griffith “asked if I might be interested in curating an exhibition for the Main Art Gallery of Cornish College of the Arts,” writes Sellars in her catalogue notes. “Cable indicated I was free to select any artist and/or subject I would like … the work of Robert C. Jones came immediately to mind. The strength of Jones’ artwork has stayed with me since I was first introduced to it in the mid-1980s.”

“What was striking was the totality of the show,” said Cable Griffith of the opening. “We were truly brought into Bob’s world, and his presence, through the works, was engulfing everyone. There was a great mix of people. Many who were there know him well, they really understood Bob and how important he is to this region. Also there were people new to the area discovering his work. It was exciting to see the different generations of the Seattle art scene brought together in this way; the painting energized the room.”

Robert Jones is a long-time faculty member of the University of Washington. He took the post in 1960, after getting a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He and his wife, Fay Jones, also a well known artist, met at RISD. More on Robert C. Jones.

“Bob Jones is a remarkable painter, but curiously only known slightly in the region,” says Beth Sellars. “His dedication and passion for painting and drawing should be an inspiration to all, including the visual art students of Cornish.  Hopefully, this exhibit will increase the exposure of this vibrantly authentic artist to a much larger audience.

“I am grateful to Cornish College of the Arts and to Cable Griffith for making the exhibition possible.”

Robert C. Jones: An Update, free to the public through March 8, 2014, daily, 12 - 5 p.m., Saturday 12-4 p.m.
Cornish Main Gallery, 1st Floor, Main Campus Center, 1000 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA


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