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Washington Depot, Connecticut: 18 Still Lives by Peter C. Jones at KMR Arts


The modern life is a busy one, full of man-made stimulation and distractions vying for our attention. In this climate, it is a wonderful thing to encounter Peter C. Jones’s photographs. His eye is that of a poet, and he has clearly created the images in 18 Still Lives with a poet’s sensibility and sensitivity. The photographs within 18 Still Lives explore the visual category of the still life: a depiction of inanimate objects, objects that do not move. Jones’s photographs encourage the viewer to be present, to look and to feel.

Throughout the years 1998-2008, the artist explored this still world, creating images that depict glowing interiors, reflective surfaces, saturated color and gauzy layers. The images were made in a seaside cottage that the artist and his wife rented every summer for many years. These photographs, unplanned and utterly organic, reflect the days spent in this house during the summer season, when days become longer and the rhythm of time slows down. There isn’t much action going on in these photographs and it seems that is exactly the point. The images were created as the artist commandeered one room, John’s room, in the seaside cottage. Each day, Jones would work from 2pm to 6pm, windows closed in the July heat in order to control the “studio” conditions, working quickly to take advantage of the rapidly changing light. The elements within these photographs are deceptively simple and un-fancy: layers of light, landscape, plain furnishings, lush flowers and fruits. Jones says, “I bought the fabrics and the vases during the winter while Charlotte grew the flowers during the summer… and she made the arrangements which made these pictures possible.” As the photographer weaves these elements together, a memory is created engaging all of the senses. Just as the smell of the salt air, the sound of the waves gently reaching forward and back over the rocky coastline, and the sensation of the sea mist on warm skin in the late afternoon sun combine to evoke a quintessential feeling of summer.  

The still life in one version or another has endured throughout the history of the visual arts. From the Greco-Roman empire through the Middle Ages to the Dutch and Flemish still life paintings of the 17th century, the still life has symbolized a wide range of ideas: life’s impermanence, a metaphor for hospitality, an awareness of the five senses. These meanings are woven throughout the images within Jones’s 18 Still Lives. Perhaps the viewer is aware that they are looking at a living thing that will shortly expire in Nepeta in Blue or Empress Nasturtiums, yet the photograph gives the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and color of nature at that exact moment in time. Hospitality is elegantly conveyed in After a Long Lunch With Dominique, as the remnants of a leisurely meal are the focus of the photograph. Deep Fog and Snipe’s Vessel incorporate light as it plays on reflective surfaces, attempting to capture that light as it dances on the walls and glass in the images. This constantly changing beauty is a visual reminder that time passes on.

“If just one person has felt solace from my pictures, then every drop of sweat will have been worth it.” – Peter C. Jones


18 Still Lives by Peter C. Jones
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT 06794
(860) 868-7533
[email protected]

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