2015 has been a great year for Marlborough Fine Art. This central London gallery has just closed the doors on an impressive Frank Auerbach show and now, hot on its heels, comes a head-turning exhibition of new sculptural works by Allen Jones.
One of the most significant British artists of the 20th century, Jones is a man whose inventive, sexually charged and sometimes provocative work has influenced everything from designto film and fashion. Jones began exploring representations of the human figure in the early 1960s, first through painting and then in fibreglass sculpture, and this fascination with the possibilities of the human body has been the starting point of his practice ever since.
Allen Jones: Colour Matters (Wednesday November 25 to Saturday January 23; works up to £216,000, including VAT) focuses on new perspectives of the female figure and sees Jones exploring abstraction and figuration in a less descriptive manner than he has to date. Green Shoes (second image)and its partner piece Black Shoes, for example, consist of pieces of clothing (vintage high heels and a green sequinned bikini in the case of Green Shoes) positioned to suggest a woman’s body and topped with an abstract, cutout acrylic head. These ghostly hints of women are enclosed inside totemic, transparent Perspex columns. Let’s Dance is equally abstracted, with the figures executed in shapes made from interlocking sheets of aluminium that twirl into the three-dimensional.
Other highlights include The Blue Gymnast WIP (third picture) and two recent sculptures of the model Kate Moss. Jones first worked with Moss in 2013, when he photographed her wearing a body-cast sculpture he made in 1978. The new pieces, A Model Model, explore his recurring preoccupation with the relationship between colour, material and form. In one, he pairs a wooden body with a glass-reinforced-composite head, and in the other he places a cast-resin head atop a polished stainless-steel body (first picture). The results, as you would expect from Jones, are simultaneously celebratory and challenging.
Forty-four years since his first show at Marlborough Fine Art, Jones’ new work shows him at the top of his game.