Caren Golden Fine Art is delighted to announce the season opener and solo show of Jonathan Calm, his third solo exhibition with the gallery. In this new body of photographs, video and installation work, Calm continues to explore the imagery and themes inspired by the detritus and ephemeral moments of the changing urban landscape and its inhabitants.
Finding inspiration from such subjects as public housing projects, archival footage of 1940’s urban renewal programs, mainstream media’s signifiers of “ghetto life” and the gentrification occurring today in America’s inner-city neighborhoods, Calm’s work provokes viewers to question the broad generalizations made about both the architecture and the people who live in these environments. Collectively his critical eye siphons out of these often overlooked and avoided places images that are poetic and powerful. An unexpected combination of elements ignites Calm’s work and makes it sear through the duality of a whole host of complex and critical issues on promise, oppression, beauty, neglect, the comic and the tragic.
Calm’s work draws on a keen sense of minimalist and formalist aesthetics which take the form of geometric elements and regularized patterns found in most urban spaces, from the linear brick facade of a city housing project, the diamond patterns of safety glass or the web of a basketball net. Yet the rich and poetic imagery of buildings reflected in puddles of water simultaneously rubs up against a feeling of dislocation from the buildings’ inhabitants as well as sense of disorientation created by the inverted reflections. The collaged, looped and layered original and cleverly edited appropriated videos are inspired by the artist’s own memories of growing up in New York City and his return visits to the housing “projects.” Calm’s work equally draws on a wealth of information generated from his extensive and ongoing research into the origins of urban public housing and its evolution since.
Jonathan Calm’s work has been widely exhibited with solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Britain, the Reina Sophia, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Jersey City Museum, Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art and most recently the Renaissance Society in Chicago. His work has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including Art in America, The New York Times, Artforum and the Village Voice along with appearing in numerous exhibition catalogues. Jonathan Calm: Projects will be on view from September 4 – October 11, 2008.
Lorraine Morales Cox, Ph.D, July 2008