Madelon Jones: Internal Landscapes

When I was seven years old my mother, learning that a neighbor of ours was giving her daughter art lessons, decided that I should have them too. So it was that Miriam Duel came into my life. Every Saturday morning at 9AM she would visit my house for an art lesson. My first lesson was particularly memorable. It was a cloudy day, we were seated at a worktable, and she asked me to describe the color of bark on the Lilac bush outside the basement window. “It’s mauve,” I replied. Her pleasure at my “sophisticated” color sense was enough to have me up and dressed by 7AM every Saturday waiting for her arrival. I loved Ms. Duel and spent six wonderful years under her tutelage. We explored just about every medium: oil, watercolor, inks, pastels, charcoal and pencil; and when I became an art major at UCLA my diverse background held me in good stead.

Because I was lucky enough to live in New York, my passion for art often led me to the Museum of Modern Art. I quickly learned about the side stairs that enabled one to avoid the crowds. One day, I was viewing an exhibit by an artist named Nathan Olivera, a figurative painter whose characters emerged out of ghostly, foggy backgrounds. I fell in love with his style.

In later years I moved to California and majored in painting at UCLA. Shortly after I enrolled, the Art Department instituted a guest professorship program, and who was the first to be announced but my idol, Nathan Olivera! Needless to say I signed up immediately. He was into movement, figurative gestures and ten second poses. What I learned from him has carried me through my entire career as an artist. Gesture, movement, color and the essence of a moment captured through action all play a vital role in what I attempt to accomplish.

During my tenure at UCLA I developed an affinity for the one discipline Ms. Duel had never taught. Etching. There was something about working on copper and zinc, and the tactile pleasure of inking and rubbing the plates, that, combined with the mechanical finality of an enormous etching press, that fascinated me. And the most exciting part — the moment you pulled your paper up off the plate to discover the image.

After graduating from UCLA I returned to NYC with my husband and I decided to take a class at the School of Visual Arts in viscosity color etching. Up to this point I had only worked in black and white. But color! I have always loved color, and the idea that one could learn to use it in a three dimensional way due to the depth of the bite in the etching plate was right up my alley. The class was being taught by the famed printmaker, Robert Blackburn. It enabled me to use up to four colors in one shot without having to overprint. A fantastic technique. Again I fell in love, this time with texture, and colors, and the ability to abstract an endless variety of colorful images from a single etched plate through different inkings. I was able to reproduce the textures of granite and other stone, and the work I began producing reminded me of abstract landscapes which I have always referred to as “Internal Landscapes.”

Madelon Jones has been making art her whole adult life and a large part of her youth. She has two shows coming up in September this year, one at Ceres Gallery in NYC and the other at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY. Another show is slated for 2013.