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San Antonio Express-News
By Dan R. Goddard
In Edwin Abbott's classic science fiction novel 'Flatland,' all the residents are geometric shapes who live in a world of only two dimensions, length and width. New Works: 03.3
Laura Hoptman, curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, selected Jeremy Deller, Kim Jones and Robyn O'Neil for residencies at ArtPace. She is the organizer of the 2004 Carnegie International. As an assistant curator of drawings at New York's Museum of Modern Art, she organized the landmark exhibit 'Drawing Now: Eight Propositions.''New Works: 03.3' runs through Jan. 25 at ArtPace, 445 N. Main Ave., (210) 212-4900, www.artpace.org.
If war broke out in Flatland, it would probably look something like artist Kim Jones' complex drawings resembling aerial maps of archaeological sites that sprawl over three walls at ArtPace. Marching through the complicated mazes of Jones' 'The War Drawings' are columns of Xs and dots. Some are inside tanks, and the Xs and dots fight each other for control of territory that includes large, medieval-looking cities with factories, churches and army bases. 'I like this arrangement because it's almost like Monet's 'Water Lilies,'' Jones said. 'It surrounds you on three sides. From a distance, it looks like an abstract drawing. It takes over the space like a giant spider web.' Casualties in Jones' battles are erased, determining who wins and causing changes in control of territory. Battles mimic the way the British Redcoats fought the Revolutionary War, with orderly columns of soldiers faced off in straight lines. You can spot a few large super weapons shooting out streams of energy that vaporize walls and buildings. But there's no air support; the war is fought within the limits of two dimensions. 'Actually, this is a game I played when I was kid in the 1950s,' Jones said. 'I'm just lucky the drawings turn out to be aesthetically interesting to look at. I didn't read 'Flatland' until I got to college, but I often use it to explain the game. Really, I'm on both sides. I decide who wins the battles, just like some boy playing with toy soldiers.' Jones also makes more conventional drawings and sculptures, but he's perhaps best known for his 'Mudman' performances. Using sticks, cord, tape and covering his body with mud, Jones said he becomes a living, 'aggressive and adaptive' sculpture. Born in 1944 and a native of California, Jones studied at CalArts and the Otis Art Institute before settling in New York City in the 1980s. He's had exhibits throughout the United States and Europe, including a large version of his 'War Drawings' at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Ireland. Jones said his ArtPace installation is the largest version of 'The War Drawings' he's ever done. He spent two months on the epic drawing, working more than eight hours each day. But it's drawn on drywall and will be painted over when the exhibit ends Jan. 25, except for pieces that people buy and have cut out. 'This is very much about the process,' Jones said. 'I don't know of anyone else who plays this game, but I'm, obviously, a little obsessed with it. To me, it never ends. I just stop drawing. But I can pick it up months later and keep on playing. Unlike most art, there's no beginning, middle and end. In a way, I'm creating and controlling time. I'm the god of this 2-D world.' Jones usually fights his two-dimensional battles in sketchbooks. A thigh-high shelf runs around the gallery supporting plastic-covered pages from the sketchbooks that he used to block out this latest game. You have to bend over to look at the sketches, which Jones said he likes because it makes viewers look like they're genuflecting. As he walks around the mammoth drawing, Jones points out some of the subtleties of the game. Officers and planning rooms are housed behind thicker, reinforced walls than the rest of the populace. A few rooms hold prisons, with several Xs interrogating dots, or vice versa. Areas with major erasures reveal where major battles have been fought. 'This is a different way to use drawing, because it's as much performance art as it is drawing,' Jones said. 'I like to just dive into it. Architects are fascinated, and kids really get into it.'
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