JONATHAN HOWSE – Sacred
Christina Parker Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Jonathan Howse. This is Jonathan’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Jonathan grew up in Springdale. His childhood was influenced strongly by the forests of central Newfoundland and by the Catholic imagery he often saw in his grandparents’ home.
In 2003, at age 17, Jonathan moved to Metchosen, British Colombia, on Vancouver Island. This is where he first studied drawing, at Pearson College. While attending school on Vancouver Island, Jonathan went on many outdoor expeditions, summiting mountains and making week-long treks. It is on one of these expeditions that he first encountered totem poles.
In 2005, Jonathan was accepted into the San Francisco Art Institute in California and spent one year there studying painting. He obsessively, and repeatedly, visited all the of the great San Francisco art galleries, viewing mostly pre-Renaissance religious painting, ancient Asian art and contemporary painting.
From 2006-2009 Jonathan finished his BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 2008, Jonathan took a few months off from his studies and moved to a remote wilderness homestead in the Yukon and learned how to dogmush.
Jonathan moved back to Newfoundland in 2010, and studied painting theory at Memorial University under the Masters of Philosophy in Humanities Interdisciplinary program.
Today Jonathan owns Fixed Coffee in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but spends most of his time living in Bonavista with his wife Sylvie.
The halo represents something more than Christian sainthood. It was a visual symbol created by artists to solve a problem: how to represent the glory of an individual in pictures? Some may take this idea of glory, or the sacred, to be Christian but it is universal. The halo has its origins in Greek, Roman and Eastern Art, long before the birth of Christ.
My work is a painterly search for a contemporary equivalent to the halo. I conduct this search through experimental mark making in pursuit of optically enhanced and expansive visual planes: receding perspective, surface tension (or humming) and illusions of projection.
In a time when climate change threatens farming productivity and food security, when rural populations are evaporating, when wars are being fought over resources and a global economic meltdown has taken place, there is perhaps a certain outcast of this time that we should look at more closely: The native, the homesteader, the hermit, the fool, are all outposts of immanent criticality.
Painting too is a counterpoint to modern thought, for it is something different than thought. Painting is pre-thought. The act of painting creates new spaces, new worlds in which new thoughts can live. Were cave paintings not our first space in which to discover what it means to be human?
Modern civilization is but one story about our world. There are other ways to live on this earth; there are other ways to be human. Not long ago, on this very land, there was another story, a different story.
I believe we should all strive to live as natives to the places we inhabit. This is the route to glory. And this possibility is available to all of us! My paintings are made with the assumption that a messiah is coming, and that he will appear in the form of the native.