ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sarah Jones is a Saint John-based visual artist, art historian and gallery owner. Sarah graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Art History from Queen's University in Fall 2009, and was a recipient of the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) graduate research grant. Returning to Saint John, she opened Jones Gallery + Studio in 2010. Sarah was a finalist in the Emerging Artist category for the inaugural Saint John 225 Arts Awards Gala ‘Originals,’ represented Saint John at the NCC 2010 Cultural Capital Celebration in Ottawa, and will represent New Brunswick in the cultural competition in the upcoming Games of La Francophonie in Nice, France, 2013.
Inspired by the gritty streets of her port city hometown, Sarah’s artwork explores the intersections of urban and industrial culture in Saint John. In other words, she just really digs cranes, tankers, graffiti and precarious-looking fire escapes. She has work in public and private collections across Canada.
Sarah’s studio is now located at 73 Duke Street, an absurd micro-building with an in-house macro-dog, a space always smelling of oil paint and paint thinner, and also, infamously, the location of one of two Saint John Scooter Gang headquarters.
View Sarah's curriculum vitae.
My work engages with urban spaces and industrial landscapes, particularly those found in my hometown of Saint John, an established industrial port city. I use the active, working and industrial elements of Saint John – the Port, the Potash Terminal, Courtenay Bay facilities, and the Irving Oil Refinery – as visual cues to guide my representational and non-representational work. These aspects of an urban landscape are often viewed as blandly utilitarian, modern and unattractive, and as a result are ignored by those cultural workers (artists, tourism promoters) whose job it is to visually brand the city. I attempt to turn a fresh gaze on the aesthetic of industrial and urban spaces, to explore the strong lines that run through such landscapes, and to challenge the sometimes negative perception of cities with industrial heritage. I have tried with my past work, and will continue to endeavour with future work, to ask the viewer to re-consider (or “re-see”) what may be viewed as the non-aesthetically-pleasing parts of our civic/provincial/Maritime identity. My long-term goal, beyond simply being fascinated with urban spaces and documenting how they work, is to recast the vision of my hometown as edgy, gritty and culturally relevant, my province and region as a place with rich urban and maritime industrial cultures.
Put simply, I just really dig refineries, cranes, train cars, tankers, graffiti and precarious-looking fire escapes, and I am happy to be working as a visual artist in a region that can afford me such material.