The Crisp Ellert Art Museum in St. Augustine, Florida is pleased to present the work of painter Jonathan Lux, in “Stick to Your Guns,” opening on February 5 and running through February 26, 2010.
For the past ten years Lux has eschewed trends in ideology and presentation to instead focus on painting itself. His is an investigatory process: the subtlest of uses placed alongside toothpaste-like gobs; apparently random marks resolve into cohesive images that defy the planning and meticulous image-gathering that go into each work.
The paintings in “Stick to Your Guns,” merge an ethos that is equal parts architectural rendering, and elegant, evolving, loopy narratives simultaneously evoking the distilled phrasing of the late John Updike. In the spatial relationships between figures, Lux mirrors the verbal puns and plays on text in Updike’s iconic Rabbit series. Visual transitions in the picture plane suggest not just an-almost-omitted detail but rather an as-yet- unexplored facet of the story unfolding on the canvas constructing, perhaps, an image that becomes shorthand for a film. In an arena of improbable associations, set against a highly specific modernist backdrop, he crafts subtle vignettes, undercutting the rigor of modernism with sensuous paint handling and the stacking of images and clues.
Lux works methodically, classically, and seemingly, counter-intuitively. His palette— grubby greys, browns, and greens punctuated with brighter, unexpected colors— illuminates personal landmarks scattered throughout North Florida.
But his is not a hero’s approach, rather, the result of years of studying the specific works of modernist architecture and then examining them on the sly. Because many modernist masterpieces have been demolished to make room for cheap, hybridized buildings that evoke no sense of place, or appropriate materiality, Lux has taken it upon himself to visually catalogue that legacy. Using foam core models, he was able to transform the scale and placement of the buildings to create believable alternate perspectives. His nuanced and humorous approach merges ideas of a more hopeful future with playfulness and a secret knowledge—not out of place in the realm of children’s narratives—that play out across the canvas.
Lux graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Fine Art/Painting from Jacksonville University. His work was the subject of solo exhibitions in 2005 at the Alexander Brest Museum and Gallery (Jacksonville, FL) and 2003 at the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (Jacksonville, FL.) He currently lives and works in Florida.