RE-VEIL-LE: new work by Joanna Jones

War & Peace

reveille (n.) a signal sounded especially on a bugle or drum to wake personnel in the armed forces: 1640s, from French réveillez-vous “awaken!” imperative plural of réveiller “to awaken, to wake up”, from Middle French re- “again” + eveiller “to rouse”, from Vulgar Latin *exvigilare, from Latin ex- “out” + vigilare “be awake, keep watch”

veille f (plural Veilles) day before, eve wakefulness (night) watch, vigil

veil (n.) early 13c., from Anglo-French and Old North French veil (Old French voile) “a head-covering”, also “a sail”, from Latin vela, plural of velum “sail, curtain, covering”, from PIE root *weg– “to weave a web”.

reveal (v.) late 14c., from Old French reveler “reveal” (14c.), from Latin revelare “reveal, uncover, disclose, lay bare”, literally “unveil”, from re- “again” (expressing reversal) + velum “veil”

Painter Joanna Jones’s new work RE-VEIL-LE is a Dover Arts Development (DAD) War & Peace commission.

I decided I wanted to make a painting for Dover that would, at the same time, be a metaphor for history and change. Out of a series of photographs – documenting a painting evolving over 42 painting sessions – I have made a film. There is no finished painting: I could have stopped at many of the 42 stages but I kept painting until I felt I could reveal nothing more. I have cut the final painted canvas into pieces, one of which will be given to each audience member as a memento. Some pieces will remain in Dover, others will leave – in keeping with Dover’s history.”

Link to Re-veil-le on vimeo

The film made with Dominic de Vere was screened together with Mihailo Trandafilovski’s “Diptych” (Violin Concerto No 2) at the Grand Finale concert on 11 October in Dover Town Hall.

After seeing the piece, Paul Young, Director of music at Dover College wrote the following essay.

Reflections upon ‘Re-Veil-Le’

I came to this not knowing if I would like the end result, uncertain, a little apprehensive, maybe even resigned that I might simply not enjoy the sounds of the music at the end of a busy working week on a dismally wet Friday. In fact, I was probably experiencing the same doubts, fears and thoughts of those who had taken such time to create it, so maybe I was already sharing that organic process of creative questioning….ironic!

Yet the experience was much more enlightening and curiously satisfying. After all the words that had previewed this, it was good to get down to thing itself – the products. It became very clear soon into ‘Re-Veil-Le’ that what Mihailo Trandafilovski (composer of the accompanying, if that doesn’t make it sound too derogatory, ‘Diptych’)had said about the Art (Joanna Jones) and the music (his) sharing the same worlds as though they were made for each other rang true.

As a musician I sat myself some distance from the performers, not wanting to feel that my attention would be solely on them, or to be distracted by what was going on technically, and to hear the sound as a unified entity, not individual instruments standing out. The intensity of the music would be challenging enough on its own, which would make me need either to observe the players closely or to shut my eyes and let thoughts come unbidden prompted by the sounds. With the images the experience was enhanced; I could focus on what was before my eyes whilst the music mirrored every nuance of colour, light, mood, suggesting all kinds of thoughts, almost randomly, like in a dream sequence, as my brain attempted to make order out of some disconnected scenes. As I write now, desperately trying to pin down exactly what it was that moved me, disturbed me, drew me in, it seems even more like the dream that when awake you cannot fully remember correctly and hope to make sense of, where perhaps there is none or does not need to be.

The whole piece was totally absorbing, the music and art working symbiotically, each feeding and responding to the other quite uncannily. Textures, densities, intensities of light, colour, tone so co-mingled that it was at times almost too intense. That bright whiteness coupled with the high sustained string writing was unremitting at one point that I was yearning for its release! Structural similarities were also a delight – beginnings and endings, central developments and transformations. As with all good art forms, what seemed genuinely appealing was that it was clear that each person could get something different from the experience, like a good book that you read on your own without preconceived interpretations imposed upon you.

A glance at the definitions beforehand gave a hint as to what was coming – different interpretations of the whole word – awakening (in us and both the painting and music), watching (us again but others too), covering and revealing (the transformations of the paintings and music). All of this inevitably captured in time, dealing with time, inexorably moving onwards from the distant past to where we are now.

I don’t consider myself to be a thinker, but this duality of expressive art forms really struck me and provoked reactions like all good art should.

Thank you Joanna, Dominic and Mihailo for a genuinely stimulating experience and thanks of course to the other creative members of the team and the superb, committed and convincing performers.

An article about Joanna Jones has also been published in Kent Life, October Issue.