Brooklyn based artist Jonathan Viner pursues dreamlike visions that blend the design aesthetic of the time he grew up in, the 1970s, with cool tones and pops of bright colors. First featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 34, and on our blog, one of the strengths of Viner’s oil paintings lies in their stylish look, using elements of the era’s sex appeal, trendy accents, kitsch and fashion, to pump up their nostalgia and intrigue. You tend to see a lot of glamour and beautiful women, or you see a lot of grit, grime, and even scariness in his images, usually painted from live models, props and photographs set up in his studio. For Viner, his narrative starts with his subjects and flows from there.
In his upcoming exhibition “Strange Math” at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, Viner offers a cinematic narrative in a series of new allegorical paintings. Their charged atmosphere plays with natural light sources in the tradition of Italian painter Caravaggio, often where dreamy scenes are juxtaposed against their realities. In one image, modelesque women are bathed in the light of a television set playing “Press Your Luck”, a 1980s game show; their stillness and melancholy is set against the freeze-frame image of a man screaming for joy, as if he’s just won the grand prize. In another painting, “War Bride”, Viner depicts a woman in a provocative and flirtacious pose on a sofa in a darkly-lit room, while outside, a fighter jet is at the ready to go to war. They are truly contrasting worlds, and even though we aren’t sure what type story Viner’s characters are in (perhaps the one that the man in “The Visible Region” is editing?) their surroundings give us an idea of who they are. Take a look at more images from Jonathan Viner’s “Strange Math” below.