Locust Jones, ‘Jerusalem to Beirut via Hebron and the curse of the helicopter rotor blade’ (detail), 2020, ink and pencil on paper, 155 x 1000 cm
Locust Jones’ studio is like a Situation Room. It is where artworks are formed through relentless news reports coming in from around the world, siphoned into strident drawings. Jones recently travelled to the Middle East and witnessed some of these news reports firsthand, bringing an unflinching lived experience to his new works. For his solo show ‘Situation Room’, he interleaves his own photographs and vivid drawings into lightboxes, posing the question ‘What is news-worthy, trust-worthy, fake news?’ These works reflect on Beirut, Bethlehem, helicopter water tankers over the Blue Mountains during the bushfire season, COVID19, the titular room in the White House, and the clamour of the 24/7 ‘newstainment’ cycle. In doing so, Jones tries to push the pause button on global politics, asking us to quietly reflect on a ravenous media and its far-reaching effects.
Locust is renowned for his monumental works on paper that unfold like diaristic scrolls, one of which was acquired recently by the Art Gallery of NSW. Locust has been invited to residences across the world, most recently in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. His first-hand experience in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza and Beirut run through these new works with a deeply-felt urgency. It is these travels abroad which serve as inspiration for his new 10 metre scrolls.
“Turn on and tune in, this is the never ending 24 hour seven day news cycle. In my drawings, I try to push the pause button on all this – a snapshot of the moment of the news in that time… Power grabs and supply chains, captive audiences and self-satisfaction, tourism and wildlife migration, uncertain times and market forces, worshipping and the end of globalisation, self-isolation and corona fatigue …” Locust Jones.
Read Naomi Riddle’s catalogue essay Breaking (the) News HERE.
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