So Handsome! I know right?
Jon mostly rides his fat bike, but has access to a car. He borrowed a truck to bring his art into town. His oil paintings on six-foot canvases are like his transportation: fluid, changeable, and suited to the endeavor. Some of the gestures are absolutely on purpose, some the result of chance.
Four large works by Jonathan VanTassel hang on the walls at the Spotlight Gallery. The colors are bright, but natural. They are fruit and vegetable colors (the hues of ripe avocado, lime, blueberries). “Ms. Pac-Man” hangs at the end of the hall in her bow and lipstick, another painting with a lot of pink is “Barbie Ferrari.” “Tanning the Hide” is reminiscent of fake tan. When Jon talks about them he speaks of breadth and depth. Dimension and substance matter to him.
Balancing big canvases is a trick, and Jon found the perfect size collaborator in his studio. Double-paned glass, smears of paint, and one small rodent made the first iteration. The painted glass was laid on snow, then photographed. “You can see how that adds depth,” Jon points out. The photographs are printed, then framed in glass squares. Most are less than a foot wide. Several series of these photos join the large paintings in the Gallery.
It’s Like the Golf Shirt
Things that are too clean don’t seem to reflect the entire range of emotion Jon wants to express. In making art, he experiences fun, loathing, dissatisfaction, challenge. If a piece feels too elegant, it crosses a line, as does the golf shirt in his artist statement. Jon puts it this way:
“I work to allow and assist accidents.
It’s an old practice.
You gotta have something to believe in.
paint is simply the better ninja.”