Artwork by UW–Madison’s Jones garners national media attention

Work by UW–Madison’s Tom Jones, a professor of photography in the School of Education’s Art Department and an Art Department alumnus (BFA 1988), has been highlighted in multiple news sources recently.

The cover of the Spring 2023 issue of First American Art Magazine, featuring “Elizah Leonard” by UW–Madison’s Tom Jones.

The Spring 2023 issue of First American Art Magazine celebrates the magazine’s 10-year anniversary, highlighting Jones’ work, “Elizah Leonard,” on the cover. Jones was also featured in the first issue of the magazine in 2013. The magazine features ancestral, historical, and living arts by Indigenous peoples of the Americas. 

In addition, Hyperallergic, a New York-based forum founded in 2009, published a story on Jones in March. Written by Stacy Platt, “Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility” focuses on what Jones hopes his art will mean to Ho-Chunk people.

Platt looks at Jones’ most recent series, “Strong Unrelenting Spirits,” which has garnered national attention. “Set against stark black backgrounds, Jones creates life-sized portraits of Ho-Chunk members and then laboriously hand-beads traditional Ho-Chunk floral designs around his subjects, creating what he refers to as a kind of aura.”

Speaking of his work, Jones says, “I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful.” 

Jones’ work is currently on view in exhibitions across the country, including at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and Madison’s own Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

According to his artist’s bio, Jones’ artwork is “a commentary on American Indian identity, experience, and perception.” He aims to examine “how American Indian culture is represented through popular culture” and raise questions about these portrayals of identity.

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