During the 2020 winter term, Knox College hosted Mary Jones as artist in residence. Her goal while at Knox was to encourage students to closely familiarize themselves with the way they subconsciously view Galesburg through printmaking.
During her residency, supported by an annual gift from Blick Art Materials, Jones explored “deep mapping” with students through her art course, titled Impressions: Representing Place. According to Jones, deep mapping “looks for ways in which the inhabitants of space have infused it with meaning, turning the space into a place in which they belong.” Students were asked to search Galesburg for trails of meaning and create a handmade portfolio to more intimately understand location through this lens.
“The students have come up with some great ideas,” she said. “One [looked] at buildings where communities form, such as barbershops, churches, and gyms. Another [followed] murders of crows around town. One [followed] so-called ‘desire lines,’ which are trails people leave on the grass or in the snow when the sidewalk just doesn't lead where they want to go.”
“I have been working on prints and collages, all based on my explorations of Galesburg on foot,” she said. “I am interested in architecture, [...] so I've become familiar with the grand old homes of the historic district that can be identified with specific styles. I'm also interested in the more transitional old neighborhoods of ‘no-name houses’—vernacular styles of architecture.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones had expected to have a show at Borzello Gallery in March called “What is it That You Call Home?” The show has been postponed indefinitely. Similarly, Jones had planned to conduct a community workshop at the Galesburg Civic Art Center in April called “Topophilia—the Love of Place” where participants would map places in Galesburg.
Jones currently lives and works in Indianola, Iowa, though most of her life has been spent in Illinois. She has taught in higher education for 20 years and previously worked as an illustrator and graphic designer. Jones has artwork in several permanent collections, including the Illinois State Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Jones is a 2018-19 Iowa Arts Council Fellow. More information about her can be found on her website.
Photo at top of the page: "Keystone" by Mary Jones.