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PN Review 276
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This review is taken from PN Review 23, Volume 8 Number 3, January - February 1982.


The David Jones Exhibition is at the Tate Gallery from 22 July to 6 September 1981; then at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, 19 September to 18 October; and the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 31 October to 13 December.

This is the first major exhibition of David Jones's work since his death in 1974. It comprises 120 paintings and drawings, 26 painted inscriptions and some engravings, wood carvings and manuscripts. It gives the fullest impression yet of the vivacity and distinctiveness of his art.

The paintings gathered at the Tate Gallery by Paul Hills disclose a protean universe in which different orders of reality meet, merge, exchange qualities and part again. This sense of instability comes from the movement of Jones's colours beyond their conventional assignations, the deliberate imprecisions of his brush and pencil lines, the vertiginously tilted representations of horizontal surfaces and, often, the rich confusion of detail. Such a consciousness of flux allies Jones to modernist and post-modernist art; his mystical inclinations, his sense of other dimensions behind the shifting veils of worldly appearances, echo ancient traditions. He sometimes depicts subjects drawn from old legend, as in The Chapel Perilous' (1932) or 'Guenever' (1940). This exhibition shows, however, that his mystical inclinations more often meshed with the quotidian and contemporary-even his paintings of legendary themes are full of contemporary references. He reached out to other worlds through reinterpretations of his immediate environment and of the conventional images of landscape and still life. ...

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