At the Blue Lagoon, Southsea Hampshire
Jon was a big fan of his Uncle David Yearley's band, Aubrey Small. On this date they played a gig at the Blue Lagoon which Jon attended. He delighted in the opportunity to hear many familiar tracks played by Dave, Rod, Pete and Alan and other band members who had reformed to play a gig which celebrated their respective birthdays. It would be the last time that many of Jon's extended family were to see him.
Find out more about Aubrey Small here: http://www.aubreysmall.com/
This was to be the last exhibition that Jon organised. He exhibited eleven large paintings and Brown Clown which was one of two versions that he had been working on. The pictures as a group together are particularly significant as there are so many strong autobiographical references. When considering them you wonder if Jon had an unconscious urge from deep within to make these eleven paintings reflect all of himself. In them you can see Jon's ideas, his earlier motifs and subject matter, significant experiences from his childhood and teenage years as well as the struggle, pain and joy he had experienced latterly.
The exhibition was organised in Arch 1 Braybrooke Terrace in Hastings. A large empty space next door to Jon's friend and colleague Kate Adam's studio and two doors away from Project Artworks. Jon advertised the 'show' to local artist friends and family but he was fairly low key about it. He and brother Marley who was to provide a sound piece for the exhibition cooked up a large quantity of French onion soup which was served to those who attended.
Rod Harman in his obituary wrote the following about the blue painting which should perhaps remain 'untitled'
'If I was cast away on a desert Island, my ‘luxury request’ would be this painting. It has a slatted purity as wonderful as Jon’s final overcoat made by his brother Tim. As with many of Jon’s paintings it has been reworked – but this adds to the reasons I love it so much. When I first saw it, it was prophetic, like the line from Isaiah “a green shoot out of the dry earth”. So, in effect, I have two for the price of one. It now has the quality and colour of a great Chinese vase – “beauty is something that happens without interest”. It also has a raftlike quality; looking at it I can leave everything behind, escape and drift into a new world. Most of all, I won’t be alone'.
Rod Harman 2007
From Left to Right and Top to Bottom: 1. Brown Clown. (size variable) 2. Untitled. (167x133cm) 3. Untitled. (167x133cm) 4. Orchard Road. (167x133cm) 5. Rubber Ducky. (167x133cm) 6. Baby. (167x133cm) 7. Untitled. (133x167cm) 8. Bromley North. (133x167cm) 9. Untitled. (167x133cm) 10. Untitled. (167x133cm) 11. Sticky. (167x133cm) 12. Untitled. (167x133cm) All of these paintings are Oils on Canvas. No.s 1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 were painted in 2006 and No.s 6 8 in 2005
Philip Cole 2015
For what it's worth this is the audio part of the evening rescued from a failed laptop.
It's my own (electronic) audio interpretation of the paintings in the show. Jon wrote me a list of all the titles in 4B pencil.... Something to work with....
Jon never heard it due to a complete technical meltdown on the opening night.
I recovered the files some months later and reassembled the recording.
- the flies and the thunder? - that's pure Bromley North
It's pretty dark though...
On the top floor of 12 Claremont, Jon had his attic studio space. Jon had one end of this space that stretched the full length of the building. In the middle area and opposite were spaces used by Jon's brother Marley and friend Tim Corrigan. At times other artists such as Sarah kimber also used indeterminate areas in this huge wooden floored space.
The large window that took up most of the side wall of Jon's studio faced eastwards. The window ledge always featured a variety of plants and grasses. Jon called them his 'blow ins' as most had not been planted but had been allowed to grow from seed that had blown in through the open window of the studio. Jon was always willing to share his time and space with other human blow ins that came and went. The studio at 12 Claremont was always a warm, welcome and dynamic space to be in. A very human place
This short film sequence was shot and edited by Tim Corrigan in the attic studio of 12 Claremont. It features Jon working on his blue painting. the painting was exhibited in the final show 'Colecorner/Coleshow'
Paintings by Rod Harman and Jon Cole. Sculpture by Christina Keep at 12 Claremont, Hastings
Jon referred to this exhibition as Rod's reading room. Jon delighted in Rod's watercolour paintings and Christina's raggedy doll like forms. He bought me one of Rod's paintings which has the sun painted in all its various positions from dawn to sunset. It is a profound painting and one that I will always be very happy to live with and am very grateful for. Jon exhibited Brown Clown on the wall above the stairs just outside Rod and Christina's work in the Pine Gallery. This to me is so typical of Jon, that he would emphasise the work of others and be less forthright about the positioning of his own. We spent a long afternoon together drinking tea with an occasional smoke whilst Rod and Jon spoke animatedly about their shared love of Wittgenstein. Jon had based Brown clown on a picture he had found in a child's colouring in book. He had worked on individual sections of the deconstructed clown and then re-aligned each piece to form the whole irregular composition. Jon not only loved jigsaws as a child, he was brilliant at them and it was a regular challenge to work together to complete a 500 or 1000 piecer upside down (brown side up). If you look at Brown Clown, neither the individual pieces or the clear lines of the human clown form line up with each other. Perhaps there is a reference to Picasso's 'demoiselles' or even to Picasso himself with those huge mischievous but sad brown eyes and painted now so that they are staring and disconnected. Brown clown resonates in many ways but it will always remind me of Jon's playful tendency to try out a novel and unexpected approach to all that he did.
Here are Rod's words about the exhibition
NOTES ON PAINTING June 2006
‘Perhaps what is inexpressible (what I find mysterious and am not able to express) is the background against which whatever I could express has its meaning’ Ludwig Wittgenstein.
This is not only beautiful but challenging, and close to my ‘experience subject matter’; taking Holy Communion.
As I was painting in the Pyrenees last summer (mountainous regions make you rethink roads and directions) I was also reading Jean Genet’s (novelist and playwright) Prisoner of Love. This sentence cornered my mind ‘If you put back the fourth wall of the stage the characters become people’. When I’m painting I am theatrical, illustrative, use props, stage directions, actors, lighting and see them as plays. Some are flops, some run, but it’s not the end of the world (this is to come). I say this because as a tourist with ‘one leg to stand on’ I try to visit and stand under the ‘Last Judgements’ of this region – the awesome Romanesque works of Christ, face to face.
It was on a drive into Spain to revisit Ripolls rampant Last Judgement that I stopped to ‘take in’ a 13th\14th Century wooden life size Deposition, (the strange horror and blessing of nosiness). It was a Holy day and Mass was under way in for me a foreign tongue (speaking tongues).
From the back I glimpsed, past the raised hands of the priest consecrating the Host, the carving. I put my hand out for the Host ; under it an attendant passed a beautiful patina, (O Sacred Spirit who didst brood). Swallowing I turned, following an elderly couple. They shuffled behind the altar to the foot of the Deposition. They reached up, held Christ’s feet and spoke to him – a conversation. For these moments I ‘audienced ‘ myself , kissed his feet and made a vow to ‘homework’, my painting – to learn to digest Christ, paint and paper. The truth is I didn’t know where to look.
Homework. An assemblage of Eucharist (still life).
Mass (an appointment, structures of altars, stage, table. In attendance man and woman – us, me. The movements of breaking, swallowing, morsels, liquids, `Remembrance, partaking – enzymes of thought, a sort of reverse Chinese chopsticks, invisible things. Stage directions – enter the Host stage centre. Work.1 An occurrence inside.
This was one version of 'Brown Clown' and the picture from a childs colouring in book that inspired it. Brown Clown was exhibited in the exhibition Jon referred to as 'Rod's Reading room' a second version was exhibited in Jon's final show; Colecorner
A quote from Jon referring to the long period of angst associated with the ongoing problems suffered whilst fixing the toilet on the floor below his attic studio.
'Thank you for the sweet and total sensation of release, it is good and seems to be going on, and pull the chain with ease'.
A 2 week workshop with a group of young teenagers with Prader Willi syndrome culminating in an exhibition at 12 Claremont Hastings
There’s something extraordinarily satisfying and deeply challenging about the physical experience of cutting into something, then separating the fragments of a once-conventional structure exposing the inner layers, layers which remain clearly visible against the outside surfaces. The newly exposed edges talk of the violence and struggle encountered during this seemingly doomed process leaving us with alternative forms of expression.
Kenton Lowe and Jonathan Cole infamous for their anarchic artistic approach to their practices collaborated their disciplines of sculpture and painting in this most recent project and joined forces with New Directions, a residential home caring for young people suffering from Prada Willi Syndrome. Ashley Redford, Barry Gore, Emma Harrington, Gregg Wilcox, Ian Dessent, Josh Courtauld, Mark Porter, Nick Walker, Paula Densham, Ryan Keane, Sam Newman and Sanchia Lowejoined Jon and Kenton and through a combination of enthused aggression and exhilarated expression, the space in the Pine Gallery at 12 Claremont in Hastings was transformed to bring together this exciting show entitled ‘Write Off’.
As Tim Cole writes 'the most brutal tool in the kit - the grinder meets the most dangerous object ever created - the car. Part autopsy, part challenge, partly the act of parting, the group concentrate on the task of dividing a car and forging friendships and new skills in the process'.
The Film of the workshop with original soundtrack by Marley Cole can be viewed here:
These photographs document the installation and the exhibition