December 4, 1999
Opening on November 3rd, Anton Kern Gallery will present an exhibition by British artist Sarah Jones. This is the artist's first solo show in New York.
The photographs of Sarah Jones appear to depict a luminous world of formal ritual and visual beauty. By working with three girls over a number of years and moving through the theatre offered by the respective interiors and gardens of two houses the artist brings to this world a serialized novelistic dimension made out of encounters that are at once real and precisely imagined. These large format photographs, mounted on aluminum and unframed, present the order of the protective enclosure and the potential for its not so comfortable transformation.
The emphasis on rooms and the static relationship between the figures and objects that inhabit them are reminiscent of Dutch and Flemish genre paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries. Solitary girls or girls in groups of two or three linger in ominous gardens, wait in formal dining rooms, or haunt the bedrooms and hallways of these houses. Obscure histories and the memory of past events inform these representations and lend a portentous aspect to narratives that extend beyond the limits of the frame.
The highly staged and artificial appearance of the scenes, the stylized ritual of gesture and detail, distances the viewer from any absorbing dramatic experience of the image. Each view instead presents itself as a frozen scene, an episode among myriads, suggestive of change and mysteriously poised between collusion and collision.