In the early 1960s, a fledging artist from Utah traveled to the small Mexican village of San Blas. While living there, he captured its people and community on canvas. This rarely seen period of Utah’s master landscape artist, Jim Jones, can be explored in the Jim Jones: The San Blas Years at Southern Utah University’s Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery.
Recognized for his vibrant canvases of the southern Utah and southwest landscape, Jim Jones lived in San Blas, on and off, for nine years. During this time, he immersed himself into the daily life of the village; thus beginning a remarkable period of depicting life in the colorful village. From a street scene of a youngster learning the guitar to a series of portraits of local personages, these paintings showcase a rarely seen side of Jones’ beginnings.
Curated by James Aton, SUU professor of English and author of a forthcoming biography about Jim Jones, the exhibition features numerous works from the San Blas period, many of which are being loaned to the gallery from private collections and are on public display for the first time.
Aton said of this period in Jim Jones work, “San Blas was Jimmie Jones’ second home. When one looks at these paintings, it is obvious how much he loved the people and culture of this coastal village. Living there changed him as a person and as an artist.”
During this exhibition, there will be a number of associated events celebrating Latino art and culture as well as the art of Jim Jones. All of these associated events are free and the schedule and information can be found at www.suu.edu/pva/artgallery/. A Jim Jones: The San Blas Years catalog and special sets of San Blas note cards will be available for purchase in the Gallery gift shop during the exhibition.
The legacy of Jim Jones will be permanently celebrated at SUU and throughout the region with the completion of Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. This remarkable complex will include the Southern Utah Museum of Art, which will house the Jim Jones Gallery, a permanent repository for Jones’ art. Construction is slated to begin March 2014.
For more information about the Gallery or to sign up for the mailing list, please call the gallery at (435) 586-5432, or visit the gallery website, www.edu/pva/artgallery. This exhibit will run from September 12 through November 9 and is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.; admission is free.
The Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, as well as the generous support of Garth and Jerri Frehner, Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau and Rainbow Sign & Banner has made the Jim Jones: The San Blas Years exhibit possible.