ORGAN THING: Sal Jones at Unit G Gallery, a little more than just a moment captured, a painter worth taking a longer look at…

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A quick caveat, a topnote rather than just a footnote. We see the Telford Homes sponsored #WickWednesday / Creative Wick people are sharing this piece on their social media as they congratulate themselves, it was in fact the only thing we could find happened on the much hyped Wick Wednesday evening, indeed, do read this piece on what we actually found that night… ORGAN THING: Exploring East London’s art, is there actually anything to this #WickWednesday thing? Is there anything left for us in Hackney Wick?

SAL JONES: Something That Feels Like The Truth at Unit G Gallery, Hackney Wick, August 2018 – There’s something about the way Sal Jones uses her paint, about the way she works her paint on her canvas, yes these are portraits, they’re portraits that are little more than just another stereotypical portrait though. There’s something about a Sal Jones painting, something about the moment, about that moment captured, that frozen second in time, almost photographic in that way a moment is captured in oil paint, almost filmoid, thankfully a Sal Jones painting is nothing like a photograph, of course not – is the anything more tediously unexciting than a painter who paints in that passionless photo-realistic look-at-how-clever-I-am kind of way? Is there really anything worse than painter who paints all the life out of paint? Sal Jones celebrates paint, she delights in colour, in the way oil paint moves. she has such a beautiful less is more way with her paint, it feels like painting these pieces excited her, these paintings of human reactions, her painterly empathy. Okay, so you could argue that there’s really nothing revolutionary going on here, but then, as we asked of that Fred Coppin show a couple of weeks back, it surely doesn’t always have to be revolutionary does it? Sal Jones is just a really good painter. No, “just” is not the right word, Sal Jones is simply a really really good painter, a proper painter, worth a proper look.

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Been keen to see this show since it opened, alas the gallery doesn’t keep regular hours and let’s be honest here, no one likes making appointments to view do they? The show opened a few weeks back, I was involved in a show happening on the other side of London the evening this rather expansive Sal Jones show opened over in Hackney Wick, thankfully her show is open again tonight, just about the only thing to be found actually really happening as part of this much hyped #WickWednesday thing. Seems the now nomadic Unit G gallery have landed themselves a temporary home until November over in the once so alive Wick and they’ve had the guts to give London-based painter Sal Jones a solo show. Unit G are one of the few East London galleries who actually seem to be interested in East London’s many artists, seems like right now in East London you’ve more chance of landing a show on this side of town if your passport is Canadian. How many Canadians have had solo show in East London this summer, I can think of at least seven without really thinking too hard about it – nothing against Canadians, but hey, if the Unit G team can get out there and check out what’s actually going on right under their own noses why can’t the rest of them? Bit of blowing our own here, we’re never shy about blowing our own trumpets, apparently it was Sally’s work in one of our Cultivate group shows at the start of the year that helped land her this show, nice one Unit G, she deserves it. Sal has featured in several of our recent shows, her work really needed to been seen in a space like this without all the noise of our group shows though, group shows have their place, truth is they offer little more that a taste of things though, good to see Unit G making the commitment, good to see the paintings spread out in a big room like this. And it is good to see these paintings all spread out and hung so well, to see them without the noise of a group show, to see each piece able breath without infringement. The temptation to pack the big room is resisted, this is an excellent room to show art in actually, this is a well considered hang well curated in an excellent space, a nice big industrial space just about white-wall enough to feel like a formal art gallery but not so formal that you’re scared to cough.

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And it would be easy to just glance at a Sal Jones painting and then politely move on, it would be easy to not look properly, to not spend time with her people. There’s something here though, these pieces that are like snatched moments, stills from a film, like a moment stopped, an instant frozen, bits of stories.hinted at with her paint -, no don’t just glance and politely move on, it isn’t immediately obvious, but it does feel like there’s something a little more that first appears here, take an extra few seconds to look at the paintings of Sal Jones, just take a moment. I like thee pieces, I like being in this room, I like this show, I like that it feels like there’s more to come, like we haven’t seen anywhere near the best of Sal Jones yet.. There’s expression here, emotion, a moment captured, action, they do feel like cinema stills, am I supposed to recognise any of them? Film stars? Don’t ask me, apparently I failed to notice it was Keira Knightley talking to me at one of my shows until the press started asking me what she had just said (I didn’t tell them). Sal Jones has a way of capturing moments, they feel like stills from films, like stills from life, something that feels like the truth, moments frozen, not really portraits, a lot more than just portraits. Sal Jones is simply a really really good painter, a painter who may not be revolutionary, a painter who just has a way of capturing a moment, a painter who has a way with paint, a lot more than just a good painter. Good on Unit G for putting this show on, shame it isn’t open a little more than it is, tough running a gallery these days, this show deserves applauding for more than one reason. (sw) .

Unit G Gallery is currently at 117 Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5LN. Something that Feels Like the Truth runs until 18 September 2018, More details via the gallery website.

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