'Orange Paving', Neal Jones

Painting of rectangular shapes with smiley faces on them

2009, Oil on board, 74.5 x 61 cm

Artist's statement

I am looking for an image of self-contained wildness. I find painting deliciously mysterious and happily limited. I am inspired and deterred by the insane beauty and detail of my allotment garden, where I paint daily. From the bacteria in the soil to invisible foxes, rats and owls that patrol at night, it is impossible to show it all. Here too is culture-war-news. The complex biodiversity in time and motion can only be generalised. 'Orange Paving' is a diagram of my failure to illustrate it. Now I prefer to knock together an absurd community of biological personalities, awkwardly interrelated.

The strong formal elements are defiant life-swipes against inaction, routes out of mannerism, politeness and pop. The spirit and gesture of the London School and early modernist paintings are referenced as are universal cell-structures and wobbly, wooden allotment structures. The ventilated spaces are fuelled with a desperate smiley face; they act as both animation mark and fatalist signature. I'm hanging on to representation but not necessarily human.


Neal Jones was born in Liverpool in 1969. He studied at Canterbury College of Art& Design 1989-92 and the Prince's
Drawing School London 2002-03. Since 2008 he has been an assistant to artist Tess Jaray. Solo exhibitions are 'Look out'
Tess Jaray's shed London 2009 and 'New Paintings and Hand Made Things' L-13 London 2010. Other exhibitions include
'Small is Beautiful' Flowers East London 2008, 'Winter Salon' Temple Bar Gallery Dublin 2008, 'Summer Exhibition' Royal
Academy of Arts London 2009 and 'I am the good artist' (2 person) L-13 London. He was a prizewinner in 'John Moores 25' 2008.