Canine Dissonance
Emily Blythe Jones


Gallery hours Saturdays 12pm-4pm and by appointment

Exhibition on view August 6-27, 2022

Since February of 2018, I have spent approximately 1500 hours standing in roughly the same spot in our backyard, kicking a ball for our adopted 130 lb mastiff Bigby to retrieve. This has been a largely unchanged and welcome routine over the last few tumultuous years. A table and outdoor lights create an extension of the studio where I bring small, handheld projects to sculpt. I don headphones, pocket a handful of tools and clay, and make my way to our backyard with my eager dog leading the way. Rinse and repeat around three or four times every day. This routine provides much needed breaks from whatever I’m working on and offers opportunities to see sculptures in a new light. Most importantly, it gives dedicated time to visit a meditative oasis to center within no matter what is going on in my life. For the last year or so, small figures and their disembodied partitioned segments have been the focus as I prepare materials for a large project underway. A ⅓ scale self portrait has been my most recent companion, plaguing me daily with a desire for likeness as I strive for a more accurate internal perception of myself and my visage.

A break in this routine came last spring when our now elderly dog had a health scare that forced me to consider the implications of life changes that might soon find us. I was abruptly forced to meditate on his life and mortality with more intentionality, reflecting on a desire to memorialize him and our years spent together. Sculpting his likeness to be partnered with my own portrait felt worthy of diverting my plans, but it’s surprisingly difficult to stare entities down long enough to render them sculpturally, especially when simultaneously confronting the emotional relationships you have with the subject. It forced me to study him with more intensity than I had before, and I quickly accrued a glut of footage to provide reference. In an abundance of concern, I ceased headphone usage to prevent misperceiving body language he might be using to communicate boundaries and needs with me while we played. I started hearing the repeated rhythmic phrases of our play as songs with the ambient neighborhood noises accompanying us. My lyrics were spoken aloud as directives: “Let’s go.” “Come on now.” “Goober, bring me the ball.” “Who is my best boy?” “Bring it here.” Silent lyrics were reserved for him, standing in for my internal monologue. I could imagine him delivering poignant thoughts that would come to me as I watched his practiced body language. Important lessons about life and sculpting were whispered to me amid his panting or the lip smacks he makes while he waits patiently for me to kick the ball.

This installation was conceived as a static music video, animating our play and the soundtrack created together. The ever present helicopters overhead beat out a drum rhythm and cawing crows or whistling finches sing back up. Puppets rendered in oil clay were created using the sustainable, eco-friendly mold-making protocol I’ve developed and all the materials used were selected as sustainable and recycled alternatives to traditional art making supplies.

Emily Blythe Jones is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in sustainable sculpting methods and materials. Jones composes installations of imagery to convey narrative through the arrangement of sculpture, video, printmaking, and painting. Jones prioritizes the use of recycled materials paired with an environmentally friendly, recyclable, non-toxic, reusable mold-making protocol developed through several years of research, development and workshopping. Jones holds both private and public demonstrations to educate makers on the innovative process and expand its use as a method to minimize the waste stream. Raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Jones moved to California in 2010 where she attended California State University Northridge to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2016. Jones has taught art courses at California State University Northridge and de Toledo High School in West Hills, CA. She served as co-director for the artist-run gallery, Monte Vista Projects from 2017 until 2022. Her work is part of several private collections and has been exhibited at BozoMag Gallery in Los Angeles, in Apt. 5's "Works from Home," Loyola Marymount University in “Dream Wavers,”as a part of Other Places Art Fair in San Pedro, CA, with QiP0 Art Fair in Mexico City, in “Heat of the Moment” at Eastside International Los Angeles, "I swear it was just there.” at Dalton Warehouse in Los Angeles, "GLAMFA" at California State University Long Beach, and "Apple Pie" at Goodyear Arts in Charlotte, NC.

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