Mary Lloyd Jones’ subject is ostensibly landscape, particularly that around her home in Ceredigion. Yet that is only part of her art. There is also the landscape of the mind, shaped by culture and history, general, personal, social and political. Behind the mere veil of appearance is a deeper reality which elides with landscapes of dream, in which past and future can intertwine, advance and recede.
Mary Lloyd Jones’ love of her materials is very marked. She takes a sensual love and almost gourmet delight in her colour and the variety of her markings and stitchings, and she treats the latter with surprising roughness, or should one say self-confidence? There seems a contradiction between this and what is read as ‘prettiness’ in her paintings. The point is important and really acts as a considerable determination of appropriateness in demarcating between ‘masculine’ and feminine’ activity in art. There are dangers of being marginalized, as Eve Ropek points out in her introduction to the Colour of Saying on Lloyd Jones’ work, and being dismissed as a ‘feminist’ artist through the use of some materials and it is true that women artists worldwide have adopted hearth-side crafts methods to make strong political points respecting their status as victim-women. These are not central to Lloyd Jones’ concerns; she is far more exercised by the implications of the screeching of military jets over her landscape.
Myth melts into history … The landscape is the past. That is the story’s meaning. Knowing the story, knowing what has made her people who they are is the stuff of the work, and the force that makes it art is a matter for transformation, a turning aside to the lit bush.
(‘The Lit Bush’ by Gillian Clarke, The Colour of Saying)