Charles Jones


fabricated and cast steel


Artist's Statement
“Look, how thy wounds do bleed at many vents!”
— The Death of Hector, Scene III; Troilus and Cressida, William Shakespeare

Discovering this line in Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida, helped crystallize the sculptural format for a series of smokestacks and vents that I have been considering for some time. Ancient or modern, these simple objects present a duality that is at once ominous and graceful. They represent a structural contradiction: thousands of tons of steel and concrete used to vent the most ephemeral of substances, smoke and steam. As metaphors they are powerful engines, reverberating with the sounds of wounded societies, venting corrosive anger and regret.

Walking the grounds at Forest Hills, I realized that I was among generations who once contemplated and experienced life just as intensely as we do. As I looked at the names and dates on the markers, studied the ornament and craftsmanship, the symbolism and the history, I felt a certain kinship. I would truly enjoy hearing their thoughts, especially from their historic perspective, on my choice of this object and icon as a vehicle of thought. Perhaps a lively debate is even now in progress.

My first piece at Forest Hills, The Poet’s Chair, also relates to my sense that one is surrounded by personal stories in a cemetery. It offers visitors a place to take a seat and wonder, as many have before us, about life.

The Poet's Chair, 2001

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