Born in 1976, the Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Viner moved to New York City, where he lives and works today, after receiving a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998.
Viner’s work draws upon a broad range of cultural influences that include a variety of Old Masters, contemporary American pop culture, and psychology. A significant theme in his work is the exploration of power relationships, particularly as they relate to safety and danger.
While his subjects are carefully delineated, Viner’s work offers the viewer space for contemplation, introspection, and conversation.
The works of Viner feature enigmatic still images, which put the viewer in the balance between a seductive and intriguing calm seemingly reassuring “scenario”, and a simultaneous change in ambush, which is intentionally and carefully censored by the missing shots, the voice-over, and from all that we do not hear or see because it is happening a few inches from our canvas, but that still is present and legible between the lines and the details, seemingly random, scattered like objects in a crime scene.
In this way, Viner invites us to retrace the forgotten corners of our past or present everyday living room, leading us to sit on the couch, reassured in front of our TV set, or to reap the fruits of our home’s garden. By watching through binoculars the happy domestic scenery pictured with an unavoidable palette, Viner leads us to doubting, to horror vacui, to concerns that emerge from childhood memories, among the pages turned by the wind of a book yet to be titled.
Working primarily with oil paint, he fuses a deep respect for painting tradition with an appreciation of the dynamic pluralism of current art practices. His conceptually ambiguous, precisely articulated hybrids of portraiture and narrative assert the right of the artist to exceed prevailing institutional conventions in pursuit of a highly individualized artistic vision.
In his soft painted artworks, full of nostalgic images and elements of the counterculture of the 70s painted with meticulous technique and wisdom, the climate of tension is palpable and the carefully delineated characters offer the viewer room for contemplation, introspection, and conversation.
Viner’s paintings and drawings are the subject of a 2006 monograph, “Tranquil Aftermath”, co-published by Jonathan LeVine Gallery and Murphy Design. Viner’s art has been shown throughout the world in various important art fairs, such as Scope Miami; more shows were held in NYC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Jonathan Viner’s works will be on display with Dorothy Circus Gallery at Monaco Art Fair, in July 2015.