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Charles Hollis Jones

Rob Goyanes

Image courtesy of Ginger Photography and Michael Jon Gallery
“The uneducated use of acrylic…is a disaster,” said Charles Hollis Jones. The designer, whose aesthetic is a classic midcentury mixed with a chilly futurism, currently has a number of his informed acrylic works at Michael Jon Gallery, and they reinforce Jones’s moniker as “Mr. Lucite”. (Lucite, and Plexiglass too, are the names of acrylic brands that get used as terms for the same polymer material.)

In the gallery’s office/anteroom sits a number of his brass works on the desk. Masculine and pragmatic, the totemic objects include a cigarette holder (with a couple pristine cigarettes in waiting), an ashtray, and tissue holder, the latter designed literally for Frank Sinatra. They have a bygone air of post-WWII functionalism, of American excess designed sparely and strongly.

The gallery is a showroom for the acrylic and steel furniture pieces: chairs, tables, and a tall lamp. The only decorative flourishes are the dice on the slender foyer table, and the occasional blue or green-tinged edge. The acrylic appears more see-through than even glass, and is attached by bolt and plating to right angles of steel.

It’s all a geometry of 90°, and flat, crystal plains, save for the curvatures of the carafe and cigarette holder, and the acrylic orb resting in the base of a table. The works, each crafted by Hollis himself in small editions, are immaculate, with a shiny clarity. They seem fragile like fine glass sculptures.

So when I sat down, I was hesitant, chary of these plastic works. There was relief though in the feeling of sitting on the structurally sound art, aesthetic objects made to do.