Robert Jones & Holly Aitchison
Shared Lines: Pūtahitanga exhibiting artists
Art work by Robert Jones; Alien Invasion (detail ) 2019
Art work by Holly Aitchison
During the period of time between level four and level three lock down Robert was almost completely alone, no one was allowed to enter his house. Robert's practice was limited to what he already had, which was not much as he relied on the use of facilities, support and materials at Art Space. This isolation had a profound effect on Robert who had been considering retirement before the pandemic but the long days at home did not suit him.
Robert's art practice consists of three areas of interest; collage, painting and creating detailed geometric patterns. In all these areas he adopts a deep, meditative focus, often working until his limbs become sore and cramped. Robert's collage pieces do not rely on the image he is cutting out as the subject, rather, the images become part of a layered geometry of colour and pattern.
Holly has been supporting Robert's art practice for 11 years at Art Space. She also sneakily delivered art supplies and art books to Robert during lockdown.
Shared Lines: Pūtahitanga 2020
During lockdown Robert was confined to his home with meal drop offs and a couple of visits from district nurses being the only interactions he would have, his normal support staff weren't allowed in his house. He became very lonely and quite bored and was stuck with the few resources he had at home to draw with. Holly has been working with Robert for 11 years and when she found out how life was for him at that time she dropped some art supplies and resource books off to him to help pass the time. Once Art Space opened back up there were discussions around the nature of connectivity with others and how important it is for mental and physical well-being.
Part of Robert's uniqueness are his hands, his fingers are fused together so he has limited use of them. Under Robert's direction, Holly completes tasks that he is unable to do, such as peeling double sided tape to stick his collages together. Robert and Holly felt that Shared Lines: Pūtahitanga was an excellent chance to illustrate an important part of their lives that was missing over that time. They also jumped at the chance to integrate an artist with a disability into the mainstream, neatly side-stepping the "outsider artist" label that Holly firmly believes is redundant in today's art world.