Friday, December 12, 2008

jonathan viner

jonathan viner, a discerning youngster, oil on panel, 24"x36, 2008

jonathan viner, conduit of dialogue, oil on panel, 24"x36", 2007

i love jonathan viner's work. it was his palette that first drew me in. the muted, aquatic tones. and then it was the details, the quieter moments, the small peculiarities that i noticed only in my mind's eye as the paintings haunted my imagination later. like the tags on the lamp cord in a discerning youngster, just a simple factor that brings the ethereal scene down to earth. the blue glow of the cell phone screen in conduit of dialogue, an unexpected inclusion of modern technology in a old master style oil painting. i love the contradictory technique and content. it cements the more frivolous aspects of our daily culture in the history that we are sure to leave behind. whether we take them seriously or not, these gadgets will become artifacts of our culture that we will pass along to future generations. things like plastic, radio waves, and computer chips will be the lasting legacy of what our generations have built (check out alan wiseman's the world without us, amazing). rather than making some sad commentary on these trends, i feel like viner's works simply explore this as an inevitability. there seems to be little sadness in these observations, more of a sense of wonder and fascination. 

jonathan viner, the fluidity of power, oil on board, 48"x36"

jonathan viner was born in new york in 1976, and received his BFA from the rhode island school of design. he now lives and works in nyc. since 2002 jonathan has had several prestigious solo shows, including his 2008 show target practice at the jonathan levine gallery. i am particularly drawn to viner's darker images (they're all fairly dark, but some are more fantasy than nightmare). i love watchdogs. viner has an amazing ability to depict architecture that radiates human emotions. i love that the house behind the figure in watchdogs has as much presence as the figure herself, almost as if it is the house bidding her to stand guard. an exemplar of detached observation, is also a beautiful example of a building that seems to breathe (i don't have a big enough image of the piece, so click the link to see an image you can see the details in). 

jonathan viner, watchdogs, oil on panel, 53"x41" 

jonathan viner, an exemplar of detached observation, oil on panel, 36"x48"