Gareth Jones was born in Milton Keynes in 1965 and studied at Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic. In 2006 he received a Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts. Jones came to prominence in the early 2000s with a series of exhibitions in London: Seven Pages from a Magazine Platform, 2002; an installation at Cubitt Gallery, 2003 and Helmut Jacoby: Milton Keynes Drawings, 38 Langham Street, 2003. Jones had a major solo exhibition at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes in 2011. Jones lives and works in London.
Gareth Jones (1965 – )
Gareth Jones’ work often draws on his experience of growing up in Milton Keynes, which was designed and built as one of the post-war ‘new cities’ to remove overcrowding and slum housing from London. Jones describes the city as ‘the most ambitious social project of its kind in the UK, a benchmark for Modernist architecture, progressive town planning and the radical ideals of the 1960s and 1970s’ and his artworks test the political ideas underlying these utopia plans and how this is displayed in materials, architecture and advertising.
New City is a digital artwork developed from an extended period of research in Milton Keynes. The artwork uses a sequence of original publicity photographs created to sell the new city to its future citizens and documents of the Modernist architecture. The selection of photographs has been guided by the artist’s memory and is arranged in fluid sequences that re-create the environment of Milton Keynes in the 1970s. Jones’ visual essay is organised into themes including of ‘City as Playground’, looking at the architecture of leisure and ‘Homes for Milton Keynes’ reflecting on one of the founding ideals of the new city: ‘opportunity and freedom of choice’ as well as passages which refer to parallels with art history such as the Italian Surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico and 17th century Dutch landscape painting.