Jonathan Gardner's highly stylised paintings of nonchalant figures set against surrealist backdrops reinvent the painterly compositions of 20th-century masters.Read More
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Gardner studied for his BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York, before receiving his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010.
Jonathan Gardner's cartoon-like images of nude figures hark back to the geometricity of Pablo Picasso's bodies, while his lucid colours and the spatial flatness of his compositions are an ode to the interiors of Henri Matisse.
The figures in Gardner's invented scenes are engaged in recreational activities, while others find themselves in moments of relaxation. Works including Cool Water (2021), The Dressing Room (2021), and Reading in the Mirror (2021), capture scenes of bathing and reading, and often depict figures in a state of semi-undress.
Taking classical genre painting as a point of departure, Gardner incorporates objects commonly seen in traditional still-life paintings into his compositions. Imagery such as mirrors and fruit find their way into his work, acting as props in these reinvented scenes.
Each work is a product of an initial drawing in a sketchbook, which is then redrawn, photocopied, cut-up, and collaged, before the final painting is composed.
Jonathan Gardner's solo and group exhibitions have been shown both in and outside the U.S. at notable galleries including Almine Rech, Paris (2021); Jason Haam, Seoul (2021); Casey Kaplan, New York (2019 and 2016) and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago (2013 and 2011), among others.
Jonathan Gardner's Instagram can be found here.
Annabel Downes | Ocula | 2022