After a leisurely, scenic walk on the High Line, Geoffrey and I showed up fashionably late at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery for the opening reception of Erik Jones‘ new exhibit of collage paintings, Twenty Sixteen, which is the name of the year that we are in right now! By the time we got there, the place was really packed. Scroll down to see a photo of the hot crowd action!
Erik Jones challenges viewers to see beauty in his chaotic, mixed-media works that merge nude subjects with nonrepresentational, abstract elements. Describing the human figures in his compositions as “aesthetic anchors,” they are the calming foreground upon which bursts of color, stenciled shapes and custom-made stickers create surreal landscapes. Using multiple mediums, such as watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, wax pastels and oil paint, Jones’ portraits are technically complex and express a heightened sense of realism.
The relationship between Jones’ subjects and the abstract motifs that engulf them can be interpreted as conceptual fashion design. His portraits are dressed in a stunning hurricane of color and geometric patterns, suiting the needs of the individual while also maintaining their own autonomous beauty.
Along with Jones’ hypnotic portraits, Twenty Sixteen features a selection of works where the human form is removed, creating purely abstract environments. Sporadically placed symbols, silhouettes and a unique coded alphabet created by the artist fosters a subjective narrative he refers to as dialogue aesthetics.
I really liked the ones with all the fun stickers, more than the nudes, because I am five.
While this body of work may appear like a dreamlike universe, Jones does not view his paintings as depicting fantasy; they exist in front of the viewer, placed on canvases and paper with skill and thoughtful reverie, as if looking at a real living being.
Twenty Sixteen reminded me of a cross between This Exhibit and This Other Exhibit, and you may understand why I would make that comparison, if you can be bothered to click on those two links; which is something I never count on.
Erik Jones’ Twenty Sixteen will be on Exhibit Through April 30th 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.