Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Phillip March Jones discusses his roadside memorial photo project tonight

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

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  • Phillip March Jones

Atlanta-based artist Phillip March Jones divvies his time between creating art, curating exhibits and running foundations such as Institue 193 in Lexington, KY, and Atlanta's Souls Grown Deep, "a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about African-American art of the Deep South." In January, Jones published the photo book Points of Departure: Roadside Memorial Polaroids, a series of snapshots of the highway shrines erected in the memory of lost loved ones. Jones comes to Westside gallery {Poem88} to discuss and sign copies of the book tonight. CL's Wyatt Williams interviewed Jones last fall in anticipation of the book's release.

Read an excerpt from Williams' conversation with Jones and see images from the book after the jump.

I never understood why Americans are so secretive, even ashamed about grieving. I'm guilty of it myself. We are taught to "hold it together" and "be strong." These roadside memorials are public statements of grief, warnings to others, and physical structures that with time become parts of our physical landscape. They mark geographical points of departure in places that are generally devoid of real human interaction or activity and are almost always built in the no man's land bordering our country roads, interstates and highways. We pass them at sixty miles an hour, sometimes glancing back but are never afforded the time to actually see them. This project is about slowing down. I wanted to give people a chance to really look at them. This book makes it easier (and much less dangerous).

... [There's] always the question: "But is it art?" If they are sculpture, then they are certainly as good as almost anything on view at any American art museum. If they are not, well, in the end, I am not particularly concerned with classifying them as anything. I made very simple instant photographs that serve as evidence of a larger human need to create when faced with the reality or experience of death. I'll leave the classification to someone else.

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  • Phillip March Jones

Phillip March Jones at {Poem88}, Wednesday, April 18, 6-8 p.m. 1100 Howell Mill Road, Suite A03, White Provision Bldg. www.poem88.net.

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