Commodity II (lithograph, 30” x 22”, 2004) by artist Tom Jones (born 1964) was selected from the collection by Professor Justin Kronewetter, director of the Richard M. Ross Art Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University.
In addition to his duties as museum director, Professor Kronewetter is also a well-respected artist, teacher, art historian and writer. This work was selected from a number of works by Native American artists reflecting the aim of Ohio Wesleyan University to embrace the diverse cultures that make up our world. The Ho-Chunk, of which Jones is a member, are an indigenous people whose territories ranged from the Dakotas to Indiana.
This striking print shows the broad range of lithography that is used in commercial printing and is a fine art medium as well. Jones says the Commodity series documents the visual rhetoric of all things “native” within the Wisconsin Dells and looks at how the images of Native Americans are reproduced and reframed into a collective memory that is, at times, distorted. It draws upon and exposes historic representation of the way Native American culture is represented in advertising and popular culture.
This print was created during the artist’s fellowship at the Tamarind Institute, which is housed at the University of New Mexico and is a dynamic center for fine art lithography. Since its founding in 1960, the institute has made significant contributions to the art of the print in the United States and abroad.
Lithography is a printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat surface – traditionally on stone, but also on sheet zinc or aluminum – that is treated to retain ink while the non-image areas are treated to repel ink. In this piece, you have commercial images and photos, hand drawing and striking abstract areas.
Tamarind Touchstones: Fabulous at Fifty, a celebration of excellence in fine art lithography on view through Dec. 20 at the Ross Museum, features several pieces (including this work) the museum has already added to its extensive collection of prints. The exhibition, organized by the University of New Mexico, is traveling the country; the Ross Museum is the only stop in Ohio.
Learn more about the museum at ross.owu.edu.
Nationally renowned local artist Michael McEwan teaches painting and drawing classes at his Clintonville area studio.