Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Capsule, 2009. Glass. metal, neon. H 79, W 59, D 27 1/2 in.
Sculptor Jessica Lloyd-Jones has received a 2009 Bursary Award from the Royal British Society of Sculptors, an annual prize dedicated to promoting the best in contemporary British sculpture. As a result, one of Lloyd-Jones’s glass-and-neon works, titled Capsule, will go on display at the society’s gallery in London later this week, along with the work of nine other sculptors. Capsule, which measures about 6 1/2 feet across, is a futuristic vessel for exhibiting pure light and color. It’s also characteristic of Lloyd-Jones’s forms and interests; as she explains, “Science and technology are subjects that inspire me, particularly natural phenomena…The complex interaction between glass, gas and electricity in neon is especially exciting.”
When asked to describe her practice in simply three words, Lloyd-Jones replies, “conceptual light sculpture.” With its pared-down forms and use of neon, her work is likely to remind viewers of the work of Minimalist Dan Flavin; the crucial difference here, of course, is that Lloyd-Jones crafts the glass forms rather than using industrially produced lighting. It’s an interesting subversion of the industrial aesthetic—though not all of her forms are so streamlined.
While on a Visiting Artist Fellowship at UrbanGlass in 2008, Lloyd-Jones produced the “Anatomical Neon” series, more intricate representations of human organs illuminated by the ever-present neon glowing in their centers as though it were a life-force. As the artist says of her time at UrbanGlass, “The experience was a fantastic starting point for a new body of artwork inspired by biological electricity and the history of the electric light bulb and first neon gas experiments of the early 1900s.” Appropriately, the series is at once both human and a little alien, pulsing yet somehow cold.
An interesting note: Several works from Lloyd-Jones’s “Black Bulbs“ series are on display at the offices of UrbanGlass and GLASS Quarterly in Brooklyn. Like the other works discussed above, these have the physical capacity to be illuminated, but on a day-to-day basis they are often left unplugged, unlit. This state of affairs offers an interesting slant on the artist’s working with neon, for there becomes something unfulfilled, abject even, about neon lights that are not alight. These are bodies that are not functioning as they are able to—which makes them seem in some ways more affecting than the “Anatomical Neon“ series, and not at all diminished. If Lloyd-Jones does see her work as more conceptual than retinal, this circumstance should make things more intriguing.
The RBS Bursary award show will be on display in London from November 19th through December 11th. For more information about visiting, click here.
–Analisa Coats Bacall
IF YOU GO: RBS Bursary Awards 2009 November 19th – December 11th, 2009 Royal British Society of Sculptors 108 Old Brompton Road London SW7 3RA Gallery hours: 11:30 AM – 4 PM (or by appointment)