Frederick Wright Jones, Assistant Professor, Sculpture
Frederick Wright Jones
Assistant Professor of Art, Sculpture
Baker Center for the Arts
My multimedia works materialize the effort to define and redefine my placement as an American and global citizen. The experience of growing up African American of mixed heritage in rural Pennsylvania and then living as a foreigner in Europe motivates my work. I believe in the American melting pot, but not as a place of Benetton like harmony but as the vital reworking of social antagonisms, the cooking process of historical deconstruction. Themes wander the liminal spaces surrounding the other, wealth, and the state, balancing the contradictions of these borderlands: guilt against duty and exclusion against entitlement. Caught in a divisive identity where participation is an act of violence, I allow folk art to inspire me; relentlessly appropriating tools of the artist unknown, the vanquished, merchandising, underground comics, idols and populist propaganda (see portfolio: "...And He Single Handedly Disperses East German Protesters"). My objects and installations work at the crossroads of function and play, engaging performance to transform the viewer’s role from that of spectator (see portfolio: “Confusion of Terms”) to collaborator (see portfolio: “NRAACP” series). I dissect the role of the historical figure, with an ethical stance that hovers between dutiful responsibility and post-punk cynicism (see portfolio: “Fairytales Ain’t Always for Kids” series).