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Jonathan Rogers, The Complexity of Life

On View Friday, August 10, 2018–Sunday, January 27, 2019

Margaret L. Wendt Gallery  

Jonathan Rogers’ work is inspired by a complicated and sometimes thorny life. His manner for representing his story is woven through the narrative nature of his painting. As a painter, past animator, he creates artworks that follow in a series pattern. A tale from beginning to end, individually and collectively. From 1990 – 2007, represented are paintings and drawings from the series, The Complexity of Life, Selfies, Little Dancer, and Visions from Faith.

His art ranges from tormented dancing children, with representations of story-book lives in the background, to a seemingly biblical worship of a protective god.  His work is off-putting to those who shun religion and a beacon to those that feel he speaks to their spiritual sense of the world. He would suggest that his story and artwork have both elements and represent how he looks for balance. Motivated by a personal experience of faith as touchstone, and a cultish practice of religion as a torment he navigates the world through his art which only adds to the question of where he is landing.

Rogers is, in many ways, the most traditional of artists. A Niagara Falls based artist he was born in Toronto, Ontario. His lengthy artistic career began by working as an apprentice printer in 1954. In 1956-59 he attended the Ontario College of Art & Design. He has taught courses on drawing at Newton Abbot College of Art, Devonshire England and School of Design, Sheridan University, Ontario, Canada. He has been celebrated and recognized as an internationally awarded animator.

Jonathan’s life has followed a rocky path, instructor to illustrator then animator to vagrant. A spiritual lecturer dismayed by the reality behind the curtain of the American mega-church, his artwork looks back at a life filled with success, failure, and reinvention. These are all grand statements, but at the core of his work is the way we all assess and re-assess our experiences. We may not connect to all that he represents in his series, SelfiesLittle Dancer, or Visions of Faith, but something in his sea of stories will touch on a familiarity that is true to many. Whether cartoonish or exacting, he has a skill and artistic vision that is a unique and individualistic tale.

This exhibition has been made possible with support from The John R. Oishei Foundation