Chamber of the Lost Sea
September 8 - October 14, 2018
Opening reception September 8, 6 - 8 PM
The Lost Sea is the largest underground lake in the U.S. It is located in a complex system of caves named Craighead Caverns at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Over time, the small cave entrance to the lake was hidden due to rising water, and later it was re-discovered by different people with various motives. Their histories and intentions are little known and largely whitewashed. What is known is that certain chambers were used by generations of Native people. White settlers began using the temperate caves for food storage around 1820. Confederate soldiers mined the caves for saltpeter which was used for ammunition, and they left their grafiti charred into the ceiling. In 1915, a dancehall floor was installed in a large chamber, positioned alongside cockfights and gambling. Bootleggers operated stills of moonshine. In 1927, electric lights were established to showcase the prowess of the new Tennessee Power Co. By 1965, the Lost Sea was opened as a tourist attraction by a group of stockholders. The visible area of the lake is 4.5 acres but the depths of the body of water are still unknown. Given the past exploitative activity and shady claims of ownership, It is not difficult to imagine what other behavior might have occurred within these clandestine walls where evidence could have been easily hidden in the sunless sea.
The Lost Sea is the title of a new body of work by Corinne Jones. The title references the underground lake as an allegorical repository of hidden histories with which our country has yet to reckon. The artist seeks to connect the past and present by making a physical space to communicate untold, lesser known or marginalized stories. Islands of the Lost Sea, 2018, are sculptural works made of stacks of moving blankets on top of ‘floor paintings’. The stacked blankets are an invitation to the viewer to have a seat, to gather in an area designated for discussion. Within the Chamber of the Lost Sea, the Islands are flanked by two large paintings from a continuing series, Counterpart Sevens 5 (A+B), 2018. The paintings are equiluminant color fields on seven-sided canvases that ‘mirror’ each other. A site-specific work, Double Trap, Single Use, 2018, is made from transparent sheets of colored plastic adhered to both sides of the gallery window. The rippled lines of the window piece parallel the lines in the ‘floor paintings’ and moving blankets.
CORINNE JONES (Memphis TN) currently lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2007 and a BFA from The School of Visual Arts in 1996. Jones has realized public art projects at the Elizabeth Street Garden, New York; at Madison Park, Memphis, TN; and on Huling Street, Memphis, TN. She has exhibited solo and two-person shows at SITUATIONS, NYC; Museum of America books, Brooklyn, NY; Tops Gallery, Memphis, TN, Jackie Klempay, Brooklyn, NY, and has participated in various group shows including galleries and museums in Miami, FL; London, UK; and Warsaw, Poland. Her work is held in many private and public institutions including the New York Presbyterian Hospital. She has been an adjunct painting professor at Columbia University and teaches color theory at Cooper Union in New York. Jones has published several books, "Liam Gillick & Corinne Jones," (Brigade Commerz/Liam Gillick, Limited edition of 50 copies with music by Liam Gillick & Corinne Jones) in 2010, "Plain English," (Letterpress, Limited Edition of 50) in 2014, and "Trends in Repurposed Abstraction" which debuted at the MoMA PS1 Art Book Fair in 2015. Her artwork has received critical praise from The New Yorker, Art News, Art Slant, and Artcore journal. Jones has an upcoming exhibition at Land and Sea in San Francisco.