Former music luminary turned gallery owner, Mark Jones, is used to working with household names such as Belle and Sebastian, Snow Patrol and Ian McCulloh (frontman of the great 80s band Echo and the Bunnymen). What started as a passion for collecting works by artists such as Antony Micallef and Banksy, in his music days, has now developed into an extraordinary gallery and online platform, Art of Treason, now situated in the North Laines in Brighton. Dedicated to showcasing ‘challenging art’ from artists at the front back and jagged edged sides of the contemporary art scene, one is immediately struck by the theatrical ambience of the space. Visual puns mischievously appeal to the viewer’s sense of the macabre, via giant hanging chains and gallow like apparatus, which display or ‘hang’ the subversive artworks. Dark yes, but what truly marks this gallery and Mark Jones out however, is his genuine commitment to exploring and supporting new and rare artistic talent.
“AOT is constantly on the look-out for new artists whose work sets our hearts racing….” says Mark Jones, “My longterm goal is to organise an Alternative Art Fair with truly original and cutting edge Fine Art, with the artists not having to pay anything or very little to show their work”.
In keeping with this vision what better exhibition to launch the Gallery’s opening, than with Outsider Artist, Jim Sanders’, The Glory of This Imperfection. Concerned with timeless themes over commercially centric ones, the British artist looks at the cyclic fundamentals of life: birth, love, sex, reproduction, ritual and death. Unmoved by the reliance upon computers in his Graphic Design course at university, he is essentially self-taught, preferring a vast vocabulary of salvaged materials to fashion his inner visions. His visceral potent pieces layer, assemble and scrape away with characteristic obsession, whereby the ritual of process is given as much value as the ‘finished’ pieces themselves. With fearless exploration of his own psyche – allowing it to flow spontaneously to the surface – he creates a wild narrative that is both vulnerable and haunting. Each piece in turn is assembled to curate an untamed sanctuary which, like his home, is a living shrine to his labours.