A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Timothy Jones' Fine Art

The title of this entry will already be familiar to readers who frequent, but for those who don't, I wanted to introduce the art of Arkansas resident Timothy Jones. Mr. Jones describes his art as "classical realism." His paintings are mostly still-lifes, and very beautiful ones at that, I think. You can read his philosophy of art here.

Now, as to the real reason why I'm calling attention to this artist. . . aside from the fact that he quotes Chesterton, I mean. I happened to make a silly comment in the combox at about these pictures making me hungry- which is true. (If you don't see what I'm talking about, go to his website and check out the pictures of plums- do you not want to pluck them off the screen and take a bite?) My assumption is that this is not the reaction Mr. Jones desires in his art. "Your paintings make me hungry" may not seem like high praise. But then again, the comment was coming from someone who blogs about food quite a bit. So- I thought that given that I write about food, and Timothy Jones paints about food, I might have something more serious to say about his work.

As I declared in my overly long "Non-Instant food" post, I think food is one of the good things of the earth, and that it is something to be savored. (I almost wrote "cherished and savored" but I think that's going a bit too far. ) Appreciating good food is one way of appreciating the created world. Cultivating an appreciation of good food -so long as it does not encourage gluttony, nor lose sight of the value of ascetic practice- is a healthy, sacramental approach to life. In other words, liking the good things of the world is a way of being incarnational in one's philosophy of life.

What I like about about the realist work of Mr. Jones is that it very clearly shows the beauty of simple things. By simple things, I don't mean just "fruit," though of course I like that he shows how beautiful the bounty of nature can be. I mean that his paintings -like all still-life art, I suppose- show a single image from common life. This kind of realism glorifies the beauty in things (spilled fruit, a glass of wine) which we may normally fail to notice. Some of Mr. Jones' work shows a single moment. Look at the pictures of Strawberries and Cream, for instance: notice the little droplets of cream on the table. What is captured here is not just a generic concept of "strawberries and cream" but a moment (or an imagined moment) of real life. In real life, cream spills. In real life, apples may tumble out of a tipped bowl. And there is beauty in these moments, if we stop and look. For those of us who don't remember to stop and look, there is art, which stops the moment for us, holds it up, and says: "this is beautiful. Look at this. Look at how wonderful the world is."

And, though I may be guilty of overusing the word incarnational, I don't think I am guilty of doing so here. This is one artist who is very much away of the incarnational aspects of his art. Take a look, for instance, at his painting "Body and Blood."


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