St. Louis painter Joe Jones (1909-1963) achieved the height of his popularity in the harsh conditions of the 1930s, depicting themes of labor, social justice, and environmental disaster in the Midwest in a style much more modern than his regionalist contemporaries. Influenced early on by the urban landscapes of precisionists like Charles Sheeler, Jones produced stark and cold images of an industrial America, fueled by factories and machines, leaving in its wake a battered and bruised natural environment.
A passionate social activist and a card-carrying Communist, Jones continually gave visual voice to the men and women left destitute and helpless by the Great Depression through his darkly poignant canvases that got to the heart of America’s often imbalanced social morals.
Joe Jones: Radical Painter of the American Scene provides insight into Jones’ life and career, from his humble beginnings as a house painter in St. Louis to his rise to prominence in the New York art scene. From his intimate, Deco-inspired portraits of friends, family members, and lovers to large scale depictions of the changing American landscape to his most brutally honest depictions of social injustice, this groundbreaking exhibition reveals Jones’ strength and importance as an artist in America’s darkest decade.
The accompanying catalogue for the exhibition features an essay by Dixon director Kevin Sharp and will be for sale in the Dixon Museum Store.