JONAH JONES’S SCULPTURE
Assessing his life’s work in old age, Jonah concluded that he had had three discrete but connected careers: as a sculptor, art educator and writer. He felt that he had made his main contribution to the arts through sculpture, and certainly it is in this field that he showed the greatest creativity and versatility.
Jonah can perhaps be regarded as belonging to the last generation of sculptors who worked mainly in stone. He saw himself both as an artist and – as the son of a coalminer – a workman, and he took great delight in the physicality of carving stone. In another context, he once wrote that “the skill of hand is an amazing factor in happiness”. In his mind there was no division between the concept he was working on and the hard work of shaping the stone.
It was not only stone that Jonah carved, however; he did a relatively small amount of sculpture in wood, and for a while produced a series of small works in metal. His style evolved from classically figurative to abstraction. Some of his finest – and certainly largest – sculptural pieces are public works, to be found around Wales and England.
CERFLUNIAETH JONAH JONES
Yn ei henaint, wrth asesu gwaith ei oes, daeth Jonah i’r casgliad ei fod wedi dilyn tair yrfa wahanol, ond cysylltiedig: fel cerflunydd, addysgwr celf a llenor. Teimlodd ei fod wedi gwneud ei brif gyfraniad i’r celfyddydau trwy gerfluniaeth, a ’does dim dwywaith amdani ei fod wedi dangos y creadigrwydd a gallu amryddawn mwyaf yn y maes hwn.
Gellir cyfrif Jonah o bosib ymysg y genhedlaeth olaf o gerflunwyr a oedd yn gweithio’n bennaf trwy gyfrwng maen. Ystyriodd ei hun ar yr un pryd fel artist a (fel mab i lowr) fel labrwr, ac ymhyfrydodd mewn gwaith corfforol cerfio maen. Mewn cyd-destun gwahanol, ysgrifennodd ar un adeg “the skill of hand is an amazing factor in happiness”. Yn ei dyb ef nid oedd ymraniad rhwng y cysyniad yr oedd yn gweithio arno a’r gwaith caled o roi ffurf i’r garreg.
Pa fodd bynnag, nid maen yn unig yr oedd Jonah yn ei gerfio; gwnaeth rhywfaint o gerfluniaeth mewn coed, ac am gyfnod cynhyrchodd gyfres o weithiau bychain mewn metel. Esblygodd ei arddull o’r ffiguraidd clasurol i’r haniaethol. Gweithiau cyhoeddus yw rhai o’i ddarnau gorau (ac yn sicr y mwyaf o ran maint), sydd i’w gweld o amgylch Cymru a Lloegr.