It is no wonder why we are instantly attracted to the work of Cassandra C. Jones. Her bodies of work are composed of borrowed and collected imagery that has been deconstructed and constructed in numerous compositions that allow the viewer an opportunity to experience the work on multiple levels. Jones presents the viewer with her own iconographic style where further inspection often leads to delightful surprises, but more so down a path of investigation into our on common cultural habits.
Cassandra currently lives between Brooklyn, NY and Ojai, CA. On top of the dual home base situation she travels a great deal and over that last 7 years has fostered a practice where she considers her laptop and wherever she can find a WiFi signal to be her main studio. Everything she produces starts there – searching for and collecting thousands of other peoples snapshot photos from stock photography agencies, eBay, public domain archives and every image exchange known to Google. She then compiles these photographs in groups of like subject matter, from lightning bolts to every possible increment of a horses gallop. She then organizes each lot in various ways (via video, print or installation) that tell stories about human observation and the power of photographic imagery in our snap-happy contemporary lifestyle.
“My photography archives and the works I create from them are documents of a banality that have emerged from an over-abundance of common imagery. Led by a desire to create a counter to convention, I am attempting to liberate specific visual clichés by embracing them. I draw connections between theses images to demonstrate that the most prevalent scenes we are compelled to capture, somehow link us. Alone, these photos have diverse meanings but when linked together they reveal much larger stories of history, ritual, desire and innate human aesthetics, regardless of author.”
This includes wallpaper and prints composed of photographs taken of real pink flamingos that are discernibly reminiscent of their retro plastic counter-part, the lawn ornament. Through collecting these photos she discovered that one of the most common snapshots taken of a wading flamingo, indeed, to be the profile of the bird’s long, soft, curved neck and down-bent bill. This particular collection led her to ponder whether it is possible that an item of now historical kitsch might influence the picture taking of the real, live thing? After all, Americans are much more familiar with the nature of the stylized, florescent version, than the actual bird itself.
In Rara Avis, Cassandra speaks to the relationship between Americans and nature; how nature is commonly brought into the home in safe and often artificial ways such as lawn ornaments, floral wallpaper and media reproductions of moving and still imagery. This body of work also relates to the tendency of taking and viewing photographs as a safe replacement for actual experience.
In a nod to traditional mark-making techniques, the series entitled “Lightning Drawings” connects photographs of lightning bolts, end to end, to create continuous lines that are distinctively bold, thin, feathered, overlapping and/or meandering. She then uses this approach of “line quality” to make large-scale drawings of urban animals in mid air. These animals exist within a pile of arranged photographs – dogs and rabbits appear to be leaping through time, space and different rural and suburban locals. This has become an analogy for the way she navigates through the sea of photos in her massive collection.
One finds it very interesting that Cassandra works in these sets and series. These at first disparate and disconnected visual mash-ups achieve spatially expansive visual planes successfully attractive as they are a call to further inspection.