Inspired by Black fantasy and science fiction narratives, this solo exhibition by Pickering-based artist Aaron Jones presents a new installation that combines video, collage works, photomurals, and a multi-channel soundscape. Finding inspiration from exploring the vast northern shoreline of Lake Ontario, Jones’ nuanced approach brings insights to land-based practices, placemaking, local histories, and world-building methodologies.
The immersive soundscape combines field recordings of natural areas around the Humber River with samples of electronic sounds from a theremin. The audio creates a moody atmosphere that unfolds across different areas of the space, and is paired with a new video work and photo-murals taken near shores of Lake Ontario. In the video, a ghostly presence moves throughout a landscape that is both familiar and uncanny. Meant to evoke an experience of haunting within his childhood home, Jones employs this phantom figure to pay tribute to its ongoing presence in his life, opening possibilities of new worlds and access to other realms.
Jones describes this work as an, “attempt to affirm a spiritual-symbiotic relationship to nature” through which he, “hopes to evoke a sense of disorientation, where the spectral spaces feel hyperreal, yet beautifully strange.” In a period defined by socio-ecological uncertainty, the work proposes ways of being in tandem with the natural world, and considers what it means to be human beyond the body. By constructing imagined spaces from images of thriving and overgrown urban areas, Jones proposes an idealized relationship to the world that considers environmental futurity and celebrates abundance. Here, bold fictions are defined by the unknown, and viewers are challenged with seeing themselves within the uncertainty.
Aaron Jones describes himself as an image-builder who reconfigures materials from books, magazines, newspapers and personal photos into new characters and realities. His collages and photo-based installations are a form of self-and world-exploration; he uses paper as a medium, where rips and tears become painterly brush strokes. Through a cathartic practice of constructing and deconstructing, Jones joins opposing visuals and colours in search of ‘peace’; a spiritual satisfaction. Recently, Jones has been exploring his birthplace of southern Ontario. The circumstances of the last two years have sparked a consideration of how he might survive off his own basic skills and natural resources. Jones has been exploring the natural landscape, as well as researching plants, wildlife, and the natural conditions near his mother’s home in Pickering, to understand their offerings and inner workings. His new intimately scaled, figurative collages are set against large-format pictures of rural landscapes and a video performance, contrasting scale and the ethereal with the real.
Born 1993 in Toronto, Jones graduated with a BA from OCADU in 2018. His work has been included recently in a special project for Nuit Blanche and the Art Gallery of Ontario’s We Are Story: The Canada Now Photography Acquisition exhibtion. He’s also been included in the exhibitions Three Thirty at Doris McCarthy Gallery, From the Ground Up at NIA Centre for the Arts, Ragga NYC at Mercer Union, all in Toronto, and Propped at Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON. Jones was awarded The Gattuso Prize for his exhibition Closed Fist, Open Palm for the 2020 CONTACT Photography Festival.
Aaron Jones is represented by Zalucky Contemporary, Toronto.
Installation of Fountain of Dreams at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2023. Images by Toni Hafkenscheid.
This exhibition is supported by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment.