Ian Jones: 2016 FSP/Jerome Fellow


“Survey makers, also called survey marks, survey monuments, or geodetic marks are objects placed to make key survey points on the Earth’s surface. They are used in geodetic and land surveying. Informally, such marks are referred to as benchmark, although strictly speaking the term “benchmark” is reserved for marks that indicate elevation.  Horizontal position markers used for triangulation are also known as triangulation stations.” 
Land Survey Marker is a drawing where the relationship of plan and elevation share a disconsolate relationship. Here is a nomadic architecture where the assimilated language of construction converges with the reductive forms of the desert all predicated on a likeness. Location is an integral facet to the work, which ranges from the remembered space of  1/2” plate to the corporeal intersection of longitude and latitude. I explore how objects mediate reality and how I vicariously experience things through them. I am interested in how process and materiality projects as an image that they posses associative, narrative potential and fulfill utilitarian and familial roles. It is escapism from the built environment through the overlay, disregarding one veracity in favor of another, a day-dream.         

 Land Survey Marker  

  Pier and beam foundation, ½” steel plate, cast in place concrete, let in charred cedar partition, decomposed limestone and washed sand, DTM coating, Virginia Slate from iron range, oat grass, prairie sage, sedum, rattlesnake master, porcupine grass
45 ° 22’ 56” N 92 ° 42’ 36” W

Describe your creative process:

IJ: Everything starts with drawing.  I keep these sketchbooks that I make with me in my back pocket with a Bic 4 color pen, and I continuously work in them.  From those I’ll pull certain things from them and begin working on them in the studio, often several things at once. Usually there is a period of obsession that surrounds the work, either with research or fine-tuning something. It’s a pretty slow evolution, most of the time, of drawing and looking and making.

Tell me about your project here at Franconia Sculpture Park–franconia-fellows

IJ: I had made a wall drawing I guess a couple of years ago now and had been thinking about how it would evolve or could provide context to other work.  At the same time I was beginning to ask questions about architecture and design.  So an opportunity arose where I could merge the conversations by utilizing the drawing as the plan view and some of those elements developed a landscape language in elevation.  The drawing started as a non-objective and had a portrait like feel to it, and I became more interested in the elevation of it digressing away and began dealing with architecture.  For a while I have been interested in my familial history as house carpenters, my granddad was one, and my dad was one.  And so some of the materials for the sculpture were processes involved in-house construction that allowed a vicarious relationship to my family via the material.  This particular pier and beam foundation is used in the Texas landscape.  That led me to start thinking about displacing a landscape and how it highlighted a contrast between locations while fulfilling almost a weird homesickness I’ve had since moving to New York.

How does your sculpture at FSP relate to your previous work?

IJ: Predominantly through material investigation.  For a while I’ve been interested in how the specific qualities of a material or a process posses a narrative that influences the concept of the piece.  Working on this project I was able to dig a little deeper into some of those questions I’ve had about what constitutes a material and where it gets sourced.

Why did you propose this project to Franconia?

IJ: I have been feeling that when my work is installed in a white cube that it loses some of the energy it had in the studio.  For a while I’d been thinking about ways I could resolve that, which prompted me to begin thinking about architecture.  So outdoor sculpture is the polar opposite to the white cube, but I wanted to propose this project so that I could begin tackling how to interject my work into a space that was unfamiliar to me.

What did the experience of working here offer you?franconia-fellows

IJ: Consolidated time to focus everything on the project. Which is huge, that kind of time lets me really fall down the rabbit hole and chase ideas that I don’t typically feel I have time to investigate when I’m working in little snippets at my studio.

How did Franconia compare to other residencies that you have done?

IJ: Well the other residencies you have to come and produce work while there, and here has been more about producing the work I proposed.  So my time here has been all production instead of developing new work while in residence.  I have had a real punch list everyday of things that I have to get done.

Where and with whom did you study?

IJ: I started off at community college and studied with a bunch of great folk, and then transferred to Washington University where I got my BFA in printmaking.  I studied with Tom Reed, Lisa Bulawsky, Shannon Collis, and Tom Huck.  I got my masters from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and I studied with Randy Bolton.

What did you learn while at Franconia Sculpture Park?franconia-fellows

IJ: I learned a lot, which is vague. But everything along the way was a learning opportunity from the weather, to the engineering, to the project managing.. it all taught me a lot.

What was your biggest challenge?

IJ: The deadline was really challenging, and the logistics were really challenging.  I haven’t previously worked this large so there were some fabrication aspects that were difficult.  And there’s only so much daylight and clear sky, so I had to be diligent in order to meet the deadline. Which is just different from what I’m used to in the studio, but that’s why I came out here.  To be challenged and uncomfortable and get into the questions we talked about earlier.

One comment

  1. […] installments: Shanice Jackson,  Zoran Mojsilov, Ellie Murphy, Lu Xu, David Smith, Jess Hirsch, Ian Jones, and David B. Smith! We will be featuring all of our 2016 Fellowship Artists throughout the winter, […]

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