Portland based artist Jon MacNair (covered here) didn’t actually enjoy sketching at first, but he kept at it and his daily drawings are what influenced his style today. Working mostly in ink, his monochromatic drawings of demons and other creatures derived from animals are decidedly mystical. Some of the themes running through his art’s veins include magic and rituals, man and beast, anxiety, journeys, isolation, night, and communication. Last night at Antler Gallery in Portland, he debuted a new series of drawings and shadowbox pieces, as well as an expansive floor to ceiling mural installation. Titled “Noctem” (after the Latin phrase “Carpe Noctem” or seize the night) his series takes the viewer into a whimsical and decidedly dark otherworld. The inclusion of shadow boxes particularly adds a dramatic dimension to MacNair’s otherwise flat aesthetic. Many pieces feature a combination of the fantastic with gruesome, as devilish characters perform various rituals like beheadings. Although frightening, they appear unfazed as they go about their absurd ways of daily life.
Jon MacNair’s “Noctem” is now on view at Antler Gallery in Portland, alongside Annie Owens and Craww, through November 23rd.