As Roald Nasgaard states in his book Abstract Painting in Canada, Jonathan Forrest “is the youngest and perhaps the last direct descendant of the [prairie abstract painting] tradition that began with [Clement] Greenberg, passed down to him through [William] Perehudoff and [Robert] Christie, the tradition that so long retained its faith in painting qua painting independent of external references. ” (p 297). A survivor of the modernist school, Forrest embraces the history, but forges ahead, producing new and innovative work.
The new paintings included in our exhibition function within the “Canadian prairie abstract” school of painting, but Jonathan Forrest pushes the boundaries of abstraction by using new tools and methods to create his luminous paintings.
The thick wedge of shaped paint on the flat colourful ground is created by many paper-thin layers of overlapping paint applied with a squeegee. These transparent colours, when combined, interact and create radiant, light-filled paintings. Colours recede and approach, fold, weave and shift depending on their precise placement and optical combinations. The depth that Forrest is able to create is enhanced with the beautiful glassy texture of the “shape” and the silky, velvety background.
This is our third exhibition with Jonathan Forrest.
Jonathan Forrest is an abstract painter based in Canada. He divides his studio time between Vancouver Island and small town Saskatchewan. Forrest studied at the University of Saskatchewan receiving his BFA in 1983 and his MFA in 1991. Jonathan has participated in several artists’ workshops including The Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop (1985, 1988, 1991, 2001, 2003 and 2005), The “Saskatchewan Invitational artists’ workshop”, Emma Lake (2000), and Triangle Artists’ Workshop, Brooklyn, NY (2002).
His work has been shown in Western Canada in museums including the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, The Edmonton Art Gallery and The Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina as well as commercial galleries including Art Placement, Saskatoon, The Vanderleelie Gallery, Edmonton and Newzones, Calgary. Public collections include the Canada Council / Art Bank, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Edmonton Art Gallery, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw Art Museum, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan Arts Board, University of Lethbridge and the University of Saskatchewan.