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Jonathan Gardner’s Surrealist Muses Drawn From Imagination and Fantasy

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Jonathan Gardner’s Surrealist Muses Drawn From Imagination and Fantasy

New York-based artist Jonathan Gardner makes a stylish and sophisticated debut with his new series of glamorous canvases currently on view at the Casey Kaplan art gallery in Chelsea. The former Chicagoan now living and working in New York explores figuration, in the form of eroticized females who are often seen luxuriating in the pleasures of leisure and recreation, as well as surrealist-themed still life and dreamy landscapes.

The self-titled show includes 10 oil-based on linen canvases, delicately displayed in the gallery’s pristine white box space, and features female subjects who are topless or clothed in luxe American sportswear. References to 20th Century modern masters make elegant appearances throughout the show. Gardner’s female figures call to mind the physique of Fernand Leger’s women, yet in sleeker body frames. There are visible parallels to Rene Magritte’s whimsical pastel color palette. With a fresh dose of humor, Gardner’s muses resemble much more comical versions of Tamara De Lempicka’s glamazons.
The subjects clearly belong to a certain class set, but it’s absolutely delightful to enter their carefree world. Forgoing sitters to produce his subjects, Gardner pulls from imagination and fantasy to create luscious scenes of daily life. In Waves, a reclining nude figure lays on a mid-century sofa while gripping a cocktail, complete with picturesque views of the ocean behind her. In Salmon Sofa, another subject is captured in a state of relaxation while reading a book, here stylized patterns interact fluidly further enhancing it’s hyper-real setting.  Both Connection and In the Mirror explore female bonds, showcasing small groups of two to three women engaging in domestic spaces, simply conversing on the phone, snacking, chatting, etc.
Gardner recently joined Casey Kaplan’s roster following significant exposure from 2015. He exhibited alongside Vanessa Maltese at the Nicelle Beauchene gallery on the Lower East Side, and was included in Jeffrey Deitch’s and Larry Gagosian’s blockbuster figurative show ‘Unrealism’ during Art Basel Miami Beach. Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, the 34-year-old holds a BFA from SVA and an MFA from The School of Art Institute of Chicago. ‘Jonathan Gardner’ will be on view at Casey Kaplan until October 22, 2016.
Images Courtesy of the Casey Kaplan Gallery

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