Fans of avant-garde art may be thrilled by the unusual pieces displayed in the Perspective Gallery this month.
The work of potter Joey Jones is being showcased until Nov. 10, and the works on display have been more audacious than the gallery’s standard fare. The ceramics show sculptures of various animals, with some performing acts of sexuality, defecation, or violent attacks. While these acts are shown most typically with dogs, others include raccoons, deer and turtle.
“It’s potty humor at it’s finest, and there’s no pun intended, I don’t think,” laughed Robin Boucher, curator of the gallery.
The responses given in the comment book, located at the front of the gallery, have been positive.
“I think they like the irreverence that some of the sculptures refer to, and the ways in which he’s using the animals to speak our minds for us,” Boucher said.
Boucher made the decision to bring Jones’ work to the gallery, as he had previously worked with the ceramics artist in Floyd County, where Jones is currently a resident.
“I did a pottery workshop with him in the '90s, when he had a place in Franklin County. I was building my studio, because I’m also an artist, and I was in between having a studio space, so I just made pottery and took it out there,” Boucher said. “I was also part of an artist cooperative in Floyd, and we would have exhibits there, so he’d roll in. I’ve known his work and watched it over the years, and knew that he was on the rebound with his work, so I did a studio visit.”
Boucher approached Jones in January about creating the exhibit. After having undergone surgeries and a kidney-transplant, Jones was rebuilding his art career, and provided Boucher with 87 pieces for possible use in the gallery.
Jones is supporting himself as an artist, and some of the pieces on display have already been purchased by observers, both for their usefulness as pots and their unconventional artistry.
“I had a lady, she must have been in her '70s, who was really interested in purchasing one of the bathroom pieces,” Boucher said. “The people you think you’re going to offend the most often have the greatest sense of humor about.”
While Boucher didn’t want to censor any of the eccentric pieces, she did have to remove one piece from the exhibit due to its content.
“There’s one piece I didn’t put in, because it was bordering on pornography. … well it was pornographic,” laughed Boucher. “While I’m okay with eroticism, pornography I can’t condone in the gallery. There’s a fine line there, and I just had to draw it.”
Interestingly enough, the piece has since been sold.
After the exhibit is closed in November, more of his work can be seen in galleries throughout Virginia, and local curators have shown interest in showcasing Jones’ work.
Jones was born and raised in a family of tobacco farmers in Franklin County, Va. He began working with clay in the 7th grade, and followed his passion through several academic endeavors that spanned from Ferrum College in Virginia, all the way to San Jose State in California. After having spent time in ‘non-conformist’ communes in California, Jones has returned to his pottery studio in Floyd County.
Boucher fondly describes Jones as having a bohemian style, and is known for saying, “The hound dog is in me, I just tell the story.”