Jon Widman "Cruel Library"

March 31, Fri - April 28, Fri, 2006

The Cosmic Blueprint Before And After Science Tuxedomoon installation-1 installation-2 Catalog
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gallery.sora. is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Jon Widman : Cruel Library, in Shinkawa, Tokyo. This will be the New York-based artist’s first one-person exhibition in Japan.

“Cruel Library” is the title of Jon Widman’s series of new paintings. In the new work, he creates two moments, one that is carefully organized, but anticipating inevitable doom and the other that is quiet and dreamy with a homey clutter of books and records. The books, records, and objects shown in both of these moments were collected by or given to the artist by friends and family over the years—each with its own history of previous ownership, enhanced by the intention of the giver, and finally reborn to their new place in Jon’s collections.

The largest painting is set up with various live and toy animals engaged in sadistic/masochistic sexual acts amid books of nature, evolution, and medicine. The animals—both real and artificial—anticipate a cruel fate before or after their moment of pleasure. In the smaller paintings of boxes overflowing with books and records, the tension of the long-awaited unpacking and organizing of prized collections is painfully captured in what seems like an endless still moment. Finally, the small paintings of carefully chosen books arranged in a grid, capture a sampling of the inspiration for Jon and his work.

Jon investigates these issues of collecting, organizing, reorganizing, control, and fear through meticulous painting of each letter of every title, author’s and publisher’s name in carefully arranged scenarios. He works from both still life and imagination which is inspired by the words on the pages of many of these books. The controlled palette is largely muted, with an aged feel dictated by the books, records, and objects themselves. Mostly old and used, they are the catalyst for the overall timeless and dream-like space that inhabit the paintings. The combination of meticulous, tightly rendered images and the palette of used books, records and objects create formal complexities that give his work a jarring, yet familiar, edge.