ZONAMACO 2020

Miscommunication

Jonathan Paul

Unix Gallery, NYC

 

Jonathan Paul (DOC) has become known as a conceptual artist working across a variety of media and styles. His provocative artwork explores contemporary desires and obsessions like gender, commerce, appropriation, and fame. His works generally expose society’s inability to control itself while examining the commercial promise of fulfillment and happiness that ends in dependency.

 

‘Slogan’ series, 2017 - present

Combining a blend of aphorisms, euphemisms, and phrases, juxtaposed with blurry images, Paul misdirects the apparent meaning of text. Inspired by what he refers to as a cross between inspirational and propagandist memes, his paintings feel impulsive and juvenile, written by hand in horror film-like text with long thin letters and tightly fitted words. The photo text canvases are drawn by finger on a computer screen, projected onto the fabric, and then painted.

 

‘Text Bubble’ series, 2014 - present

Paul describes this body of work as self-aware. Each wall sculpture seems as if the art is referring to or texting itself, appearing to have a conversation independent of the viewer. The viewer is placed into the role of ‘audience’ to the wall’s ‘conversation’ or ‘performance’.  The artist suggests that the context of contemporary art has shifted from the effect of artwork on the viewer to the performance, or the effect of the space, the artwork is displayed in. 

 

John Baldessari showed us the ambiguities and frailties of communication, exposing the range of ways images could be organized and read. Jonathan Paul takes this idea one step further by isolating the artwork from the viewer and focusing on it as an independent form of communication.

 

‘Off-Gassing From the Cloud’ 2019

Paul refers to the subject matter of this body of work as unfortunate. He muses that images of puppies, cats, butterflies and pixelated stickers are off-gassed from an information cloud of mass communication. Unfortunately, mass communication does not generally produce humanity’s finest; however, Paul challenges us to accept these images to be the most relevant of our time.