Artwork by Lincolnton, Georgia native Leonard Jones is on display at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Entitled “Rural Life,” the exhibit will be on display until March 8.
The style of Jones’ work is considered to be primitive. His images are snapshots of rural Southern life, where the figures are not facing the camera, as if caught unaware by the artist. He paints by spreading large blocks of color across a piece of scrap wood or roofing tin, using enamel house paint. He paints his subjects using his fingers, and you can often see his fingerprints in the paint. For larger strokes, he uses a large house painting brush, and for smaller subjects or for detail, he often uses a stick or the handle of a brush.
Born in the early 1950s, Jones is a self-taught artist who began painting while still in school. Around the age of 12, the principal of the local high school provided him with a painting kit and encouraged him to pursue the artistic activity. He gave up painting after school so that he could work to support himself, often working odd jobs and doing farm work.
Jones, who lives in a farmhouse in rural Lincoln County with very few amenities, says he is inspired by childhood memories. His work has received much acclaim, appearing in gallery shows throughout the South and at the House of Blues.
The exhibit is sponsored by Bill and Virginia Anne Franklin Waters, and the pieces on display will also be for sale.