All Things Jimmie Jones at SUU
Jimmie F. Jones, “Point Sublime, 2009,” oil on canvas, 54 x 120 in. Collection of Southern Utah Museum of Art, Gift of the artist, 2009.
Although Jimmie Jones exhibited at Phillips Gallery in downtown Salt Lake City for more than a decade (1977-88), some people north of southern Utah have not heard of the great canyons’ landscape artist who died in 2009 at the age of 76. After spending his childhood growing up in the national parks, and adolescence with his father and siblings working summers there (particularly the North Rim and Zion), Jones told his friend and biographer James M. Aton that the scenery “certainly did sink in,” as the author relates in his fascinating 2015 coffee-table-size book, The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones: Landscape Artist of the Canyon Country
(which we review here
Jones dreamed of an art museum in his hometown and eventually donated the Rockville home and studio he built stone by stone on 4 acres of land overlooking Zion Canyon to SUU to sell. He would additionally gift his last 14 or 15 paintings and the copyrights to his work so the school could create a singular gallery on its Cedar City campus. Now, the Southern Utah Museum of Art is paying tribute to Jones with Find the Distance: A Jimmy F. Jones Retrospective Exhibition available free of charge both in person and also virtually on the university’s SUMA at Home webpage. So, go there.
The show is replete with crayon drawings that Jones’ mother saved from his childhood, work from high school and college, paintings and drawings from time spent in Mexico (1961-75), and his landscape period (1976-2009). “Jimmie Jones literally grew up in the national parks of southern Utah and northern Arizona, but not until he started painting them in 1976 did he grow into a deep intimacy with the canyons and the plateaus of his native region,” says Aton.
The museum has produced a refreshed catalog of Jones’ final paintings that is available through the gift shop for $10. “We will also have new merchandise [in connection with the exhibition],” says Emily Ronquillo, Manager of Marketing and Communications.
“We’ve got notebooks with Jones’ work as the cover, postcards, magnets, and a special pencil/paintbrush with his signature. Due to high shipping costs, we are only able to offer some of those items in-store and not through the mail,” Ronquillo adds. The store is also offering 23 limited-edition Giclée Prints and other more-affordable prints of works by the noted artist. Catalogs are also available for northerners at Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City.
A graduate of the University of Utah, Ann Poore is a freelance writer and editor who spent most of her career at The Salt Lake Tribune. She was the 2018 recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artist Award in the Literary Arts.