‘Lares et Penates’ by Doug Jones at Ceri Hand Gallery

Photos of the artwork by Minako Jackson

Doug Jones: Lares et Penates
at Ceri Hand Gallery
14 January –  19 March 2011

For his second solo show at the Ceri Hand Gallery, Doug Jones has constructed four rooms inspired by a British Bed and Breakfast; the reception, the breakfast room, the guest’s bedroom and the private ‘back room’ of the female proprietor.

I really enjoyed this installation, it’s clever, humorous (often dark), detailed and overall good fun to imagine yourself being a guest at this B&B which looks so familiar but subtly different from so many you may have visited. It’s the sort of thing I like to re-visit, there’s about 40 needlepoint works in total, with some you see the punch-line straight away, others seem quite ordinary until you look closely.

The rooms are a curious portrait of both the owner – a woman whose morals, desires and aspirations haunt the objects on display – and  the guests who choose to fleetingly inhabit this woman’s world.

A jamboree of peculiar curios, photographs and home-made ornaments – from embellished, colour-coded room keys, to hand-stitched table cloths, fur coats and bedding – the rooms convey a unique personal identity and selling point for a fading business. This obsession with detail, outmoded crafts and over-use of decorative trimmings creates a bizarre safe-house for the overlooked and undervalued.

A strange mix of needlepoints adorn the breakfast room walls, reflecting loss-leading labour and a fear of the ever-changing, contemporary world. For example Men at Work 2010, portrays a romantic farming scene with a red warning triangle disrupting the image of a farmer, lifting hay with a pitch fork. It highlights the dangers of over-romanticising the past and fixes him in the narrative of a declining industry.