Jonathan Gardner, ‘Reflections’, 2014, Mary Mary

About Jonathan Gardner

Chicago-based artist Jonathan Gardner’s highly stylized work joyfully references a wealth of 20th-century painting—from Matisse’s interiors to Magritte’s distinct objects, from Picasso’s bodily geometries to Seurat’s relaxed bathers. Moving between representational, figurative, and Surrealist imagery, his collage-like compositions are united by a spatial flatness. Background line patterns and grids provide the wallpaper for books, furniture, fruit, and body parts. Female nudes are depicted with the same distance as in Fernand Léger’s The Three Women (1921) or with the detached eroticism of Balthus’s girls (as in Gardner’s Loungers and Leaning Pose [2014]). Gardner’s scenes belong to a leisurely world, suggesting the Golden Age as much as they reflect downtime in present-day America.

American, b. 1982, Lexington, Kentucky, based in Chicago, Illinois