Frank Jones: Living in a Bi-Chromatic World

Friday, May 5 – Jun 30, 2017 6 – 8 pm

740 N. Wells
Chicago, IL 60654

Exhibition on view: May 5-June 30, 2017
Opening reception: Friday, May 5, 6-8pm

Frank Jones, a self-taught Black artist, was born around 1900.  According to his mother, Frank was born with a veil over his left eye, and according to traditional African American folk beliefs, people born with this "veil" or "caul" (part of the fetal membrane) over their eyes, have the power to see spirits and communicate with them.  When Jones was about nine years old, he began to see spirits, which he referred to as "haints" or devils.  For various and somewhat suspicious reasons, Jones was first sent to serve a prison sentence in a Texas penitentiary in 1941 and would spend nearly the next 9 years there.  After being released on parole, he was arrested again and was given a life sentence term.  Sometime after 1960, Jones began drawing pictures on salvaged paper of the "haints" he saw.  He called the series "Devil Houses".  Using stubs of primarily red and blue colored pencils thrown away by inmate bookkeepers, he drew horizontal and vertical lines, forming cross sectional views of architectural structures.  The houses were divided into cell-like rooms.  The "haint" figures are in every room, much like Jones' belief that we are all daily surrounded by these "devils" who encourage us and taunt us to do bad things.  Frank Jones passed in 1969.  But his hauntingly beautiful drawings/constructions live on, representing some of the most original work inside and outside of the "Outsider" genre.