Hendersonville Arts Council Showcases Humane Society along with the Art of Ted Jones
by John Pitcher
Artist Ted Jones considers his studio to be a chapel and his artworks to be offerings and prayers. Not surprisingly, his numerous prints, paintings, and repoussés often have divine themes. Yet his art is remarkable primarily for its intense human emotion.
Some of Jones’s most recent creations are now on display at Monthaven Mansion in Hendersonville. The exhibit, curated by photographer Carlton Wilkinson, is part of the Hendersonville Arts Council’s celebration of Black History Month. In addition to Jones’s artwork, Monthaven is also hosting a major photography exhibit called Humane Society: A View from Our Lens.
“The title of the photography show is a play on words,” Wilkinson says. “In most of these pieces, the photographers are taking a humane look at humanity at large. Most of Ted Jones’s works are religious and spiritual in nature, and all of them are recent, having been created in just the last several years.”
One of Middle Tennessee’s most prolific artists, Jones taught at Tennessee State University for over 34 years and was also a professor at Fisk University. Tall, wiry, and spectacled, Jones is known for a signature graphic style filled with rich detail and bold figurative elements. His Monthaven exhibit will include Fallen Brother, a striking block print showing a man on his knees, his crooked fingers clawing the air as if in agony. The show will also feature Immaculate Heart of Mary, a relief that calls to mind the religious icons of the Middle Ages.
About a dozen photographers will have their work on display in Humane Society. Some of the photographs take strong political stands. In his Liberation South Carolina, Wilkinson shows a celebratory scene of the Confederate flag being taken down from the state capitol. In Joyce Perkins’s Selma Now, an older African- American man holds up his fist in defiance on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the “Bloody Sunday” attack on civil rights marchers in 1965.
Other photos show the simple pleasures of American life. Duan Davis’s Boy Playing is an affecting black-and- white photograph of a child frolicking on a city street. Gale Clemons’s Baby on New Knees is an intimate portrait of domestic bliss.
These two major shows will fill five galleries at Monthaven Mansion, 1017 Antebellum Circle, Hendersonville. The exhibits run through March 2. For more information, please visitwww.hendersonvillearts.org.