Locust Jones’ light box work ‘Southern Times’ was shown in his 2020 exhibition ‘Situation Room‘. In this work, Jones’ photograph of a bustling street in Palestine collides with his vivid drawing of a Black Lives Matter protest. ‘Southern Times’ was nominated as a finalist for the 2020 Fishers Ghost Award.
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 on ‘Situation Room’ Breaking (the) News HERE.
Locust Jones exhibits throughout New Zealand and Australia, and has had solo exhibitions in New York, Germany, and Lebanon. He has participated in artists residencies in Lebanon, Beirut and New York. He is the winner of the Hazelhurst works on paper award in 2009 and the Dominik Mersch Gallery Award 2010. He has works held in numerous public and private collections throughout New Zealand and Australia. Jones has been awarded the Blake Prize Finalist (2020), Dobell Drawing Prize Finalist (2019), Wynne Prize Exhibition Finalist, Art Gallery of NSW (2016), Australia Council for the Arts New Work Grant (2014), 18th Street Art Centre Residency, Santa Monica CA (2014), and the National Contemporary Art Award Winner, New Zealand (2010).