C'NT Programming

Grandma Tells Stories
Michael James Jones

Saturday, February 23, 2008
First Screening: 9 pm (ish)
Second Screening: 10 pm (ish) 

The Carpet ‘N Toast Gallery is pleased to present a new video by Calgary/London-based artist, Michael James Jones.

Michael JonesSource of Light

In the 1982 essay Available Light Dave Hickey recounts standing around sipping beers with Ed Ruscha in front of the stone fireplace which had been the subject of his 1977 painting No End to the Things Made Out of Human Talk  and said, kidding him a little:

“Y’all just gather around up here and have a good confab about art, huh?

Ruscha responded:

“Strangely enough, that is the sort of thing that can happen. Although most of the talk about art among my friends boils down to a kind of shorthand, really more visual than verbal. We just point out things to each other, maybe nod and go ‘He he he’. Which means, ‘That’s good, isn’t it,’ or ‘That’s hot’. A lot of art is just that, a notation of loving something. Doesn’t really matter what it is”

Hickey goes on to say how this comment reminded him of when his grandmother explained to him early on that love, like your common horsefly, was just as likely to land on a turd as a rose –

“ I stood out on the deck for a while and thought about it. I could see that we had never valued the object so much as the quality of attention we paid. That was the currency of art, the object probably wasn’t much, unloved, that is.”

Michael Jones video stillGrandma Tells Stories

The video screening at C’NT takes it’s motif from Ruscha’s painting of his fireplace. However this remake shows my grandmother making a fire in her own fireplace, with a presto log. She then begins to tell stories.

Likewise for my Grandmother’s stories, it is the generative nature of language in Ruscha’s painting that entrances – it’s ability to create new understanding out of old experience. Similarly both of these are images which sound makes visible, images which one way or another have been “spoken” into existence. In Ruscha’s painting an unheard story speaks the image and the image of the fireplace is the backdrop for my Grandma’s speech and as Dave Hickey’s learnt from his grandma; meaning is in the quality of attention paid.

Michael Jones' CV | Images | Statement | Something is Happening Here - a text by John Will