The Jean Jones Estate announced the launch of their forthcoming virtual exhibition “Jean Jones: The Myth of the Tortured Genius”, it follows the success of the retrospective of last October at The Brownston Gallery in Devon.
The exhibition, produced in collaboration with the Perspective Project, will explore the oft-romanticised relationship between creativity and mental illness, by using the work and life of Jean Jones (1927-2012) as a prism through which to interrogate the myth of the “tortured genius”.
Who was Jean Jones?
Jean Jones was an English figurative painter who spent most of her life in Oxford, Devon, and Primrose Hill. She achieved substantial success in the London and Oxford art world during the 1970s.
Jones was a very prolific artist, produced over 400 paintings, including a variety of landscapes, portraits, self-portraits and still lifes, which engage varyingly with the legacies of Expressionism and Post-Impressionism. She demonstrates a particular interest in documenting the changes of places through time.
This virtual exhibition wants to reclaim Jones’s place among the celebrated artists of post-war, where she belongs. The show is organised for the team of Jean Jones Estate, which is led by her grandson. According to the Jean Jones Estate’s team, it is only now, eight years after her death and through a process of research that they could uncover the stories of the paintings she left in the care of her family.
Her career culminated in 1980, since her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, an exhibition that was very well-received by public and critic. And her paintings are considered to have “poetic” and “lyrical” qualities that provide a diary of her geographical, emotional, and psychological development, by art historians and connoisseurs such as David Carritt.
Throughout her life, Jones suffered from mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. her difficulties with mental health severely limited the progression of her artistic career. Nonetheless, her talent was recognised throughout her lifetime, even though she died aged 85 and in relative artistic obscurity. Iris Murdoch, the novelist, told once that Jean Jones would one day be so famous as her idol, Van Gogh. However, Jones’s career never reached the great heights since it was tragically curtailed by the deterioration of her longstanding struggle with severe mental illnesses. Practicing painting as a daily ritual was her ultimately salvation.
The Jean Jones Estate have plans for research projects, a new Instagram account and ideas for other exhibitions too.
The exhibition will commence on 13 March 2021 and be held at the web of the Jean Jones Estate. For more information you can check: