In the Urban Arts Space’s newest exhibition, solemn portraits splashed with wild colors give an intimate look at family and friends and the emotions that come with being human.

The university’s downtown gallery will host local artist Todd Jones’ exhibition, titled “Self-Reflection,” through Sept. 14. The artwork brings psychology and art together in an ode to the artist’s loved ones.

“I became really interested in the psychology of color and personality development,” Jones said. “And just how the human mind works and how personalities differ between different people and how we’re all unique, individual beings.”

A graduate student at Ohio University, Jones received a dual undergraduate degree in fine arts and psychology. He was primarily a portrait artist, drawing friends and family, but said he wanted to incorporate his other interests into his art. “Self-Reflection” is the combination of these ideas — portraits of loved ones embellished with what stands out about who they are. Most of the pieces are from Jones’ undergraduate years.

His pieces are made using a technique called paper marbling, a traditional style of painting in which the artist floats paint on top of water and transfers the water to paper, allowing the pigment to flow and fill the page naturally.

While he takes some liberties in his application of the paper marbling technique, Jones said he feels a strong tie to the form and how it adds to his artwork.

“I want others to appreciate the different approaches there are to portraiture and the different approaches to using different techniques … and to appreciate the visual beauty of these traditions,” Jones said.

“Imprinted: 2,” created by Todd Jones, will be on display at Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus, OH. Credit: Courtesy of Todd Jones

Lydia Simon, operations manager at Wild Goose Creative, a gallery in Old North Columbus, said she has been aware of Jones and his work since he displayed one of his photographs in a group show there in 2017. Since then, Simon said she has kept an eye on Jones’ creative evolution.

“A lot of his stuff is very introspective. The inspiration for a lot of his stuff is based on personal relationships … and he explores those things through the mediums that he works with,” Simon said.

One piece on display in the gallery varies from the rest of the works. Among the paintings is a large sculpture made entirely of paint.

“That piece was created when I was in residency, when I was kind of lost in my own practice, not sure where I was going with my artwork, what was I going to be doing, so I called it ‘Contemplation’ … It was this whole idea of, ‘What’s next for me?’” Jones said.

Jones said he identifies himself as a painter and is interested in the various forms that paint can take. By mixing it with a variety of mediums, Jones said he created a paint “skin” that he can manipulate and mold in sculptures.

The addition of “Contemplation” to the show represents the artistic move Jones is making.

“That’s kind of the direction in my work that I’m moving toward — more labor-intensive processes of creating multiples but assembling them to make one large piece,” Jones said.

Simon said she expects Jones to continue gaining skills and recognition both in Columbus and beyond.

“People should go see Todd’s work because he’s an artist on the rise … His work is beautiful and he’s just one of the best artists I’ve ever worked with as a friend and as a colleague,” Simon said.

The Urban Arts Space is located in the Lazarus Building at 50 W. Town St. and will display “Self-Reflection” until Sept. 14 in the Center City Gallery. The exhibition is free to attend.