Antipodes 1A, 2A, 3A, 2004
cotton thread on paper
42 x 111.5 x 3.7 cm each framed
each panel is signed and dated ‘with signature 2004’ and inscribed with title ‘Antipodes 1A’, ‘Antipodes 2A’ and ‘Antipodes 3A’ (lower left of each)
Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 18 August 2006
Antipodes 1A, 2A, 3A (2004) are three early works made from cotton thread stitched onto paper that relate directly to his early light installations. Jones is a perfectionist, each work meticulously stitched by the artist with rows of alternating coloured thread using his mother’s hand-turned sewing machine. Following the threads closely, you see that each work is made from two unbroken threads that snake across the paper to open ends at the top left and the bottom right.
In that way, the work is a record of a performance – the open ends perhaps implying the span of time that came before the work and the time that will come thereafter. Just like his light installations, Jones’s woven works were inspired in part by the communal acts of net-weaving that Jones researched in the early-2000s. Similar sewn works by Jonathan Jones are held in the Collections of QAGOMA, Brisbane, and Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Coffs Harbour.
Curator Michael Desmond described the relationship between the woven and light works as follows: “Jones has been able to translate the formal qualities of fluorescent lights into local terms, co-opting the lines, textures and ambience of cast light to an Indigenous reading. The group of stitched drawings shown at the same time as lumination gave clues to understanding the works in these terms. Ostensible diagrams for the placement of light fixtures, the threaded lines equally refer to the sewing activities of Jones’s mother and the patterns of Indigenous markings.” (Michael Desmond, “Jonathan Jones: Into white”, Jonathan Jones: untitled (the tyranny of distance), Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (2008, 2021 ed., p. 9.)
Jonathan Jones is a Sydney-based artist and a Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi man. His work discusses the complex history of appropriation in the history of Western art, often aiming to invert the ‘borrowing’ of Indigenous art forms around the world by doing the same with canonical figures in modern art like Jackson Pollock in his 2004 sculpture, blue poles.
Born in 1978 and having studied at the College of Fine Arts in the late-1990s, Jones’s work quickly began to expand to a broad array of materials from drawing and sculpture, through to film and site-specific installations. Inspired by his grandmother, a Wiradjuri artist, his work mixes an understanding of traditional practices with critical and art historical references and stylistic touches. In particular, Jones favours the use of light as a medium that allows, as he put it, "the mapping of relationships and the representation of knowledge in ephemeral yet connected ways. I’m interested in the way light transgresses space and operates within and beyond the physical constructs of its environment." (Jonathan Jones and Lisa Catt, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2017.)
Jones began exhibiting in Australia and overseas in the late-1990s. At the Tarnanthi Festival, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, in 2019, Jones along with Bruce Pascoe and Bill Gammage mounted Bunha-bunhanga: Aboriginal agriculture in the south-east, an historic exhibition that explored the cultural and agricultural connections and uses of land by Aboriginal Australians prior to European settlement. Jones has exhibited at the 2nd Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2012, and multiple Adelaide Biennials of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia.
His work is held by major public collections in Australia, as well as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Palazzo delle Papesse Contemporary Art Centre, Siena, Italy, and major corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas. In 2014, Jones won ‘YOUR VERY GOOD IDEA’, Kaldor Public Art Projects that resulted in 2016 in barrangal dyara (skin and bones), a sprawling installation that stretched across 20,000 square metres in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens.