October 16, 2006 - University at Buffalo Art Gallery - Kim Jones: A Retrospective
October 16, 2006

Kim Jones: A Retrospective

Mudman Performance, Telephone
Poll Piece, 1978. Photograph by Ned Sloan.

Kim Jones:
A Retrospective

opens at the University at Buffalo Art Gallery with a public reception on October 19, 2006, 5-7 p.m. The artist will be in attendance.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is on view through December 17, 2006.

UB Art Gallery
201 A Center for the Arts
Buffalo, NY 14260-6000
Tel: 716.645.6912
Fax: 716.645.6753


Though Kim Jones is recognized internationally for his performance art, installation, sculpture, and drawing, this is his first full retrospective. Kim Jones: A Retrospective features sculpture, drawings, collages and a photo-documentation timeline giving a comprehensive overview of the artists performances and installations from 1954 to the present, as well as two large-scale installations conceived for the exhibition.

Jones established his reputation in California in the 1970s as a performance artist, where he became widely known for his alter ego, Mudman. Caked in mud, bearing a lattice appendage of sticks attached to his back and wearing a headdress and nylon mask, this unsettling, itinerant figure appeared on city streets, beaches, and in galleries. Connecting the abstract, formal investigations of process and material-based artists and the intense physicality of body-based performance, Mudman evolved from Jones early stick sculptures tightly bound in what would become his signature materials of nylon, rope, electrical tape, and foam rubber. Jones uses documentation of Mudman, as well as sculptures that result from performances and installations to develop an idiom of forms and hybrid creaturesinspired, in part, by Bruce Nauman and Eva Hessethat appear throughout his drawings.

Two pivotal moments in Jones life profoundly inform the content of his work. He was born in San Bernardino, California in 1944 and as a child diagnosed with a polio-like illness that confined him first to a wheelchair and then leg braces from ages seven to ten. Thirteen years later, he served for a year as a Marine in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 68. Traces of these ordeals reverberate throughout his work dealing with war, confinement and catharsis.

His frequent reuse of materials and motifs in his artwork has resulted in a core imagery that demands an inquiry into cultural representations of violence. As if recalling a trauma or enacting a ritual remembrance, he reworks select drawings and sculpture, which explains why most of them reference multiple dates spanning decades.

Jones drawings fall into two distinct categories. The first group portrays landscapes in which humans morph into animals or exist in a symbiotic relationship with prosthetic devices. The second category is Jones War Drawings, two-dimensional, battlefield diagrams done painstakingly in pencil and erasure marks that endlessly pit the x-men and dot-men against each other. Included among them will be a 35-foot, floor-to-ceiling drawing that sprawls across three walls providing powerful, and timely, commentary on eternal confrontation and diplomacy.
Kim Jones: A Retrospective is organized by Sandra Firmin and the UB Art Galleries and Julie Joyce and the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, California State University, Los Angeles. An accompanying 160-page monograph published by MIT Press, MUDMAN: The Odyssey of Kim Jones, will feature four essays, over fifty color plates, and a comprehensive bibliography. Essayists include writer-historians Robert Storr and Kristine Stiles, and exhibition curators Sandra Firmin and Julie Joyce.

The exhibition will travel to the Luckman Gallery (March 24-May 19, 2007) following its stay in Buffalo.

The mission of the University at Buffalo Art Galleries is to further the educational goals of the students and scholars of the University and the general public by acquiring, displaying, preserving and interpreting cultural material of quality in the broadest sense of that term and in their most relevant aesthetic, historical and social context, always keeping in mind the Universitys commitment to academic excellence in education, scholarship and cultural preservation.

University at Buffalo Art Gallery
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