Artful Blogger

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Exposure Gallery show reveals what David Jones did when the lights went out

Local artist David Jones documented the great power failure of Aug. 14, 2003 — from Manhattan Island.

Do you remember what you did Aug. 14, 2003, the day of the great power failure, when lights went out in Ontario and much of the northeast United States?

Well, David Jones certainly remembers that day. He was in New York.

“I viewed this as an opportunity for adventure — a chance to document Manhattan Island without lights,” says Jones.

The result is an exhibition that has just opened at Exposure Gallery, atop Thyme and Again on the increasingly arty Wellington West strip. The show is called Manhattan Nocturne: New York City and the Great Blackout of August 2003. And it’s definitely worth catching.

As usual, the talented Jones has infused a wonderful retro look to his paintings, some in watercolours and some in oils. The bright pastel colours and blurred edges make me think of the 1930s or even an earlier Scottish arts-and-crafts aesthetic. Call it built-in nostalgia.

The paintings at Exposure reflect views from street-level and from Jones’s 21st-floor hotel room on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We see various views of the Empire State Building as well as a water tower — two structures that reinforce the bygone days feeling. Many of these views are at sunset, when the sky turns all peach or lavender.

“These paintings capture the mood of New York City, as the initial panic gave way a strong sense of community and cooperativeness”, says Jones.

Indeed, there is no sense of panic or congested traffic. All is calm, romantic even.

The Jones exhibition, which continues until Sept. 15, is part of the annual West End Studio Tour, which operates Sept. 7-8 and Sept. 14-15. For full details of the tour, visit www.westendstudiotour.ca.