Spice Island, 1986
Allen Jones RA (b. 1937)
RA Collection: Art
Allen Jones was elected RA as a printmaker and submitted Spice Island as his diploma work. As a monotype, Spice Island occupies an ambiguous position in Jones’ work. It is not listed in Richard Lloyd’s catalogue raisonné of the artist’s prints, for instance.
In terms of its exotic subject matter, Spice Island was likely inspired by the same holiday in Grenada which provided a starting point for other works of the late 1980s including the paintings Island Life (1986-7), Daze (1986) and Tropic (1986), the etching Grenada (1987) and the suite of six lithographs Islands (1988). Some of these works were exhibited in the exhibition Allen Jones at Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris in 1989, in the catalogue introduction to which Bryan Robertson wrote:
Tthese new paintings … derive, indirectly, from memories of a Caribbean island holiday, and Jones discovering that when entertainment was provided by the hotel in the evening with musicians and dancers, black people would gather to listen and watch silently and invisibly beyond the bright lights, leaning casually against trees which fringed the beach. The paintings are essentially fantasies with their own electricity’.
In the way works such as Spice Island develop fantasies out of the experience of Caribbean life, Jones forms part of the succession of British artists to be similarly inspired, of whom Chris Ofili (born in England and now resident in Trinidad) is the most recent example.
1080 mm x 1544 mm
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