Jonathan Gardner: Living Image

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Open: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm

64 rue de Turenne, 75003, Paris, France
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm


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Jonathan Gardner: Living Image

Paris

Jonathan Gardner: Living Image
to Sat 18 Dec 2021
Tue-Sat 11am-7pm

Forming a homogeneous whole in both subject and style, Jonathan Gardner presents ten new paintings at Almine Rech in Paris.

Artworks

Hotel Room, 2021

Oil on linen
142.2 x 96.5 cm 56 x 38 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Dining Scene, 2021

Oil on linen
187.9 x 157.4 cm 74 x 62 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Reader in the Mirror, 2021

Oil on linen
142.2 x 132 cm 56 x 52 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Doorways, 2021

Oil on linen
165.1 x 137.1 cm 66 x 56 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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A Passage of Light, 2021

Oil on linen
170.1 x 182.8 cm 67 x 72 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Reading Menus, 2021

Oil on linen
101.6 x 142.2 cm 40 x 56 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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A Passage of Light, 2021

Graphite on paper
39.3 x 36.8 cm 15.5 x 14.5 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Dreamer Diptych, 2021

Graphite on paper in two parts
16.5 x 24.7 cm / 6.5 x 9.75 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Three Columns, 2021

Graphite on paper
31.1 x 29.8 cm 12.2 x 11.7 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Figures Waiting, 2021

Graphite on paper
36.5 x 43.5 cm 14.4 x 17.13 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo: Luc Bertrand Zip

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Cool Water, 2021

Oil on linen
190.5 x 165.1 cm, 75 x 65 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo by Luc Bertrand

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The Dressing Room, 2021

Oil on linen
167.6 x 142.2 cm, 66 x 56 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo by Luc Bertrand

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Sketch Book Drawer, 2021

Oil on linen
167.6 x 111.7 cm, 66 x 44 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo by Luc Bertrand

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The Bathhouse, 2021

Oil on linen
177.8 x 198.1 cm, 70 x 78 in
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photo by Luc Bertrand

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Almine Rech Turenne Jonathan Gardner 1

Almine Rech Turenne Jonathan Gardner 2

Almine Rech Turenne Jonathan Gardner 3

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Going further than painting the everyday, Gardner paints leisure. His figures are occupied with recreational activities: consulting a restaurant menu, reading a book, taking a bath, gardening, collecting, reading on the beach… Subjects that, in his own words, “are not dramatic, but have potential for introspection.”

Gardner’s painting is figurative, not realistic: the perspectives are exaggerated, like Giorgio de Chirico’s buildings; sometimes he borrows the strategies of Cubism to depict the space; and the textures (the wood or iron of a bucket, the metal legs of a coffee table), as well as the characters’ expressions, are rendered subtly. Each element is strategically elevated to its most simplified point of legibility, and while the action is unmistakable, the way in which the characters experience the action remains in question. They seem to live in an ideal world, incredibly peaceful, where emotion is ready to spring forth. It is as if the spectator had a carte blanche to complete the narrative. This parallel world, stylized and idealized, impeccable, where the hairstyles are always perfectly arranged, brings with it the sort of anxiety that often characterizes surrealism.

As has often been noted, there is no system of hierarchy between the elements that make up the painting. A pipe is treated with the same intensity as a character or an element of furniture or decoration. Each element is brought to an equivalence that invites us to look at these paintings in their abstract dimension. This invitation is emphasized by Gardner’s use of color blocking, and the grids and lines that cause the composition to prevail over the narrative. Some of the paintings on display depict bathhouse scenes, and Jonathan Gardner tells us that these scenes were born from the memory of an afternoon at the Russian Baths in Manhattan in 2019. But nothing of this personal experience is recounted. In Bathhouse (2001) for example, the very tone of the action is reduced to its minimum. The intricate, geometric network of plumbing, the regular grid formed by the tile floor, and the clouds of steam are treated as abstract forms.

In sum, while his painting presents itself to us with a certain simplicity and obviousness, it quickly reveals its strangeness – and its complexity. Clearly, it also brings to mind the styles of earlier painters (Fernand Léger, Balthus, Magritte, de Chirico, Le Corbusier, David Hockney, Le douanier Rousseau). But the absurdity of this eclectic list, which puts opposites together, soon becomes apparent: what could link these painters if not this very style?

— Eric Troncy, Director of Consortium Museum, Dijon and Editor-in-chief of Frog Magazine

Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech. Photos by Luc Bertrand


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