Jonathan Gardner at Mary Mary

Artist: Jonathan Gardner

Exhibition title: The spot of the eye

Venue: Mary Mary, Glasgow, UK

Date: February 10 – March 24, 2018

Photography: All photographs courtesy the artist and Mary Mary, Glasgow

Mary Mary is pleased to present our second solo exhibition with New York based Jonathan Gardner.

In this series of new works Gardner places his attention on invented interior imagery, navigating a terrain between abstraction and representation. Gardner’s focus is on windows, doorways, paintings within paintings, exits or entrances, both in to the paintings, and the various spaces within them. Ever disrupting linear narratives, Gardner invites the idea of passages or a never ending series inside the private world of the works themselves.

Working from an extensive collection of his own drawings, Gardner utilises these in the form of collage, to produce an ambiguous, hallucinatory painted space, inhabited by abstracted and dismantled still lives, plants and stylised figures. This way of working allows Gardner to create new distortions in scale and space; bringing together two or more ideas which come from different streams of thought, which in turn allow Gardner to create something out of the surprise of discovery, incorporating chance into the creation of a pictorial abstraction. Gardner unifies these collaged drawings by meticulously rendering them in detail as paintings, whilst carefully orchestrating composition and sensual, vibrant colour. Having always mined his subconscious for imagery alongside art historical reference and reverence, Gardner presents work which is both layered and visually multifaceted.

Gardner’s imagery here is increasingly complex, presenting only presumptions of reality, and as a result we are left, as viewers, only with a hint as to their purpose, place or time. Recurring forms offer multiple interpretations of a single object or subject, from one painting to the next and by presenting images in flat, compressed planes, the works become illusory tableaus.

Gardner talks as much about the process of viewing them as he does about the subject matter, discussing them as images in which you could let your mind detach, enter and wander around in. He strives for the work to offer a form of pleasure and something that can be absorbed slowly. Indeed many of the works include leisure imagery; the beach, musical instruments, viewing art works, plants, vases and dandy fashions.

There is in turn, a feeling of a daydream, a sense of being in some way removed. The instruments do not seem to be being played, the figures are suspended in time, and as a result the works offer a sort of joyful mundanity, capturing a labyrinth world, akin to the aesthetics of trompe l’oeil. It is this combination of decorative pleasure, displacement and strangeness which holds Gardner’s interest; this creation of a particular reading in which on one hand invites access and escape, whilst at the same time, withholds it.

Born in 1982, Gardner lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Casey Kaplan, New York (2016); Mary Mary, Glasgow (2014); ‘Nudes, ’Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago (2013). Selected group exhibitions include ‘The Jean-François Prat Prize,’ Paris (2017); ‘UNREALISM,’ The Moore Building, Miami (curated by Larry Gagosian & Jeffrey Deitch); ‘June: A Painting Show,’ Sadie Coles HQ, London; ‘Jonathan Gardner / Vanessa Maltese,’ Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York; ‘Reliability of Recognition,’ BolteLang, Zurich (all 2015); ‘Inside Arrangement,’ Mary Mary, Glasgow (2014).

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2018, exhibition view, Mary Mary, Glasgow

Jonathan Gardner, Suits and Flutes, 2017, Oil on linen, 152.4 x 144.8 cms / 60 x 57 ins

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2017, Oil on linen, 157.5 x 111.8 cms / 62 x 44 ins

Jonathan Gardner, The spot of the eye, 2017, Oil on linen, 157.5 x 111.8 cms / 62 x 44 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Moon Passage, 2017, Oil on linen, 160 x 142.2 cms / 63 x 56 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Twisted Chair, 2017, Oil on linen, 106.7 x 127 cms / 42 x 50 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Twisted Chair, 2017, Oil on linen, 106.7 x 127 cms / 42 x 50 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Primitive Menu, 2017, Oil on linen, 160 x 91.4 cms / 63 x 36 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Mirror Portal, 2017, Oil on linen, 154.9 x 111.8 cms / 61 x 44 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Mirror Portal, 2017, Oil on linen, 154.9 x 111.8 cms / 61 x 44 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Black Cherries, 2018, Oil on linen, 152.4 x 162.6 cms / 60 x 64 ins

Jonathan Gardner, Black Cherries, 2018, Oil on linen, 152.4 x 162.6 cms / 60 x 64 ins

Jonathan Gardner, The Collector, 2018, Oil on linen, 101.6 x 88.9 cms / 40 x 35 ins

Jonathan Gardner, The Shadow Escape, 2018, Oil on linen 137.2 x 91.4 cms / 54 x 36 ins

Jonathan Gardner, The Shadow Escape, 2018, Oil on linen 137.2 x 91.4 cms / 54 x 36 ins

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