"Joey Jones: Recent Works" will feature the ceramic works of Joey Jones in the Perspective Gallery on the second floor of Squires Student Center from Oct. 4, through Nov. 10. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Of Jones’ work, Colleen Redman writes, “More concerned with emotional content than design technique, Jones’ work draws from his life and possesses an archetypical and shamanistic quality.” Jones creates functional and sculptural pottery that tells a story through the use of animal iconography, which Perspective Gallery curator Robin Boucher says, “can be quite shocking, or it can be hilarious.” She invites the viewer to consider Jones’ use of anthropomorphic animals as a form of storytelling. Some of his most elaborate pieces are his moonshine jugs, which have been adorned with motifs of hounds, raccoons, rabbits, and roosters, reflecting the influence of Jones’ rural upbringing.
Jones was born and raised by a family of tobacco farmers in Franklin County, Va. He says that he first became interested in pottery in the seventh grade when he was introduced to a pottery wheel, saying that molding clay came naturally him. “I’ve always liked the dirt. I was a dirty kid, always down at the river, catching salamanders,” Jones said.
A short stint at Berea College in Kentucky saw him “kicked out,” but his work with clay gained momentum nonetheless. Jones’ higher education experience is as eccentric as himself, taking psychology classes at Ferrum College and informally teaching ceramics classes there; completing a scholarship semester at Penland School of Crafts; assisting with ceramics workshops at Peter’s Valley Craft Center in New Jersey; and studying under Ken Ferguson at the Kansas City Art Institute. Jones did graduate work at San Jose State University, leaving before graduating, and moved back to Virginia to teach ceramics as an associate professor at Ferrum College.
Of the half-human, half-animal clay figures that adorn his jars, Jones says, “The hounds are me. They tell the story of my life and how I’m seeing it.”
Written by Chris Kessler.