Olivia Jones

Tephra: Order in the Dust

Olivia Jones took residence as University of Bristol’s EarthArt Fellow from July 2018 to January 2019. During her fellowship, Olivia worked with academics in the Volcanology Research Group on the subject of volcanic ash, building on a project she began developing in late 2017 titled, ​Tephra: Order in the Dust​.

Exploring the behaviour and materiality of ash particles, clouds and plumes, Olivia has created a new body of work in conversation with Bristol volcanologists, looking into the methodologies, technologies and interface between science and art.

The term ​Tephra​, defines all material ejected by a volcano during an eruption, encompassing volcanic material both on a micro and macro scale. Drawn to the density of ash plumes and the dual nature the formations as being both beautiful and ominous, Olivia sought to find out more about the structure of ash clouds and developed conversations with those working closely with ash in their research. The material itself became an important part of the production of the new works in the exhibition. Prints developed from drawings of microscopic images of ash particles and ceramic sculptures were created using ash samples collected by volcanologists at the University of Bristol.

Order in the Dust​, references the Italian writer Italo Calvino’s ​Cosmicomic’s series of short stories describing the birth of the universe from the perspective of cellular bodies. During the residency the phrase took on new meaning. ​Order in the Dust​, when applied to ash cloud research, creates a conversation about the scale and texture of disorder and the inherent need to find order within chaos. New technologies employed by volcanologists, such as, the use of Drone Imaging, Scanning Electron Microscopes and X-ray Tomography are expanding the reach of our visual limitations. Delving in to the density of the plumes and the internal structures of particles we strive to reach inaccessible depths for knowledge and understanding of the processes in which things are made and destroyed.

This body of work explores the connections and memory contained within the ash particles. Prints, ​Outburst a​ nd ​Cascade​, consider the shifting perspectives of technology whilst drawing on personal stories and experiences from individuals working in the field. ​Gathering​, a new ceramic work incorporating volcanic ash as a glaze element, reflects on the movement of individuals and material, the journey of the material itself and the communities of people connected to it.

Olivia Jones (b. London, 1988) is a visual artist based at Spike Island and a member of Spike Print Studios. Working across various media her work explores the structural behaviour of landscapes in an endeavour to reveal unseen dimensions and develop the constructs for evolving narratives.

Graduating in BA (Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth University in 2013, Olivia has shown her work in galleries across the UK and internationally. Projects include: ​Tephra: Order in the Dust​, Test Space, Bristol (2018); Artist in Residence, ​Ashlantic​, Fur Island, Denmark (2017); Contemporary British Drawing,​ Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, China (2015); ​You Move Me​, Antlers Gallery, Create Centre, Bristol (2015); ​Jerwood Drawing Prize​, Jerwood Space, London (2013).

Click here to view a full pdf booklet of Olivia Jone's exhibition and fellowship.