Several years ago, I developed a painting technique in which I used hand-cut stencils made from my own line drawings of everyday objects, such as tools, automobiles, electric fans, toys, buildings and household furnishings. With this technique, I’ve been able to gently push acrylic modeling paste through these stencils; when dry, the paint creates thick relief lines that contrast dramatically with the flatly painted images they define with just a few, simple strokes.
For me, there is a simplicity about my subject matter and the relatively uncomplicated manner in which the subjects of my paintings are depicted, using a basic, limited palette of bright colors whose boldness is sometimes emphasized by highlights or broad passages of black, white or silver. As a native New Englander, I have long been interested in the outlook, influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism and other sources, of such 19th-century Transcendentalist thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who called attention to and celebrated the extraordinary nature of the ordinary.
Responding to the tenor of these times, I believe my newest paintings express a certain sense of urgency about just how worthwhile—or necessary—it is or might be right now to pay attention to and recognize the value, in many senses of the word, of everyday experiences and the most familiar objects and events of daily life. These new paintings exude the pop art feel of 1970s rock-album cover designs, but without any of the self-conscious irony that has become so common in a lot of contemporary art that makes such references. Made with acrylic modeling paste and oil-based enamel, each of the main motifs in these new paintings is surrounded by concentric outlines that emphasize its presence and its shape. When I created these new paintings, working with new stencils that I made from my own line drawings or revising older stencils, I felt energized by reawakened memories of the subjects they depict—and excited about finding my own way to call attention to the rewards of recognizing the enduring charm and beauty of the ordinary.
“I’ll Never Say Never to Always,” Linda Warren Projects, Chicago, IL
“The Paint Show”, La Mama La Galleria, New York
“Too Hot to Handle: A Political Issue Show”, Alliance for the Arts, Ft. Myers, FL
“Normal”, Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
“Critic’s Select”, Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts, NJ
“Species” Linda Warren Gallery, Chicago, IL
“Jon Waldo with Elaine Angelopoulos”, PS 122 Gallery, New York
“the burbs”, DFN Gallery, New York
“Nature: Hanging By A Thread”, Queens Theater in the Park Galleries, Queens, NY
“Pausing to Shift” Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery, Bronx, NY
“Jon Waldo:Word and Image Paintings”, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York
Jon Waldo & Patricia S. Gutierrez”, Hopper House Art Center, Nyack, NY
“Form + Transformations” Queens Library Gallery, Queens, NY
GOMEZ, E. “Back to the ‘Burbs”, Art & Antiques, May, 2007
GOMEZ, E. “Decoding Abstract Art”, Art & Antiques, September, 2004
BUI, P. The Brooklyn Rail, July – August, 2004 (illustration)
GOMEZ, E. “The Moment After: Postmodernism Art Finds a New Soul” ARTicles National Arts Journalism Program, 2002