Tuesday, 12 October 2010


"Hidden Identity," 2009, oil on linen, 16 x 12"

In “Hidden Identity,” Lasker suggests that the act of viewing art functions as a metaphor for a kind of metaphysical puzzle solving. In this painting the artist composes another body of systematically stroked black lines, this time parallel to one another and positioned in obliquely angled groups. A rough weaving of boldly painted blue, red and yellow planks and a small, roughly cone shaped blob of pink paint sprout from the bottom of the image. A doodle suggesting curly black hair and another grid form of unbalanced cross-hatched lines extend and totter from the painting’s top, the latter pair of images suggesting both the painting’s entrance portal and its gatekeeper. Yet far from threatening, this friendly maze-like topography invites the gaze gently into its space, as if one were calmly looking out of a window. It says that only by redirecting the psyche’s energy inward can viewers begin to clarify and discover not this painting’s identity but their own.

Studies for Paintings 1986 - 2006
In the mid-eighties there was a subtle change as Lasker began to work from small sketches or doodles. Each painting is now preceded by several studies. It is not just a matter of scaling up initial doodles: they are scaled up, more or less, but details or colors may be changed.

Lasker’s palette of fluorescent blues, oranges and pinks gives the work a contemporary nu-rave edginess. A sensual use of paint is contrasted with graphic scribbles. The drama and geometry of these maquettes is achieved with various combinations of oil, pen, ink and ballpoint pen on paper. Each study is expertly contained within a small-scale format of approximately 13 by 17 cm. At first the doodle-like quality of the work has an air of Abstract Expressionism, yet closer inspection reveals a carefully premeditated balance and constraint typical of Lasker’s body of work.

'Untitled' 1989 - 6 3/4 x 5 in. / 17.2 x 12.7 cm
Oil and ballpoint pen on paper

'Untitled' 1987 - 5 x 6 3/4 in. / 12.7 x 17.2 cm
Oil on paper

Jonathan Lasker was born in 1948 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and Calarts in Valencia, California in the late 1970’s. Lasker has exhibited internationally since the early 1980’s. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain in 2003

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