Jonathan Edelhuber’s (조나단 에델후버) paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which he makes primarily in oil and acrylic, combine elements of the modernist motifs of Picasso and Matisse with a pop sensibility that he borrows from comics and cartoons. Often incorporating stylized text and occasionally using nontraditional supports (such as quilts), Edelhuber explores the interaction of fine art and design. Edelhuber democratically adorns his canvases and objects with his iconic visual style, all in a spirit that values Bauhaus and Daniel Clowes in equal measure.
A cursory glance at Jonathan Edelhuber’s paper and canvas paintings immediately reveals their flatness, a graphic state reminiscent of the artist’s early training in graphic design. Sparse backgrounds and flat, cartoon-like subjects (a perpetual zoo of fictional and non-fictional people, flora and fauna) are condensed into compositions reminiscent of a dramatic stage. He often accompanies these cartoon-like figures with short, evocative captions, often taken from a variety of environmental sources-poetry, hearsay, and song lyrics are all conceivable. Edelhuber’s paintings are generally spare, but to call them minimal would be wrong. The light brown, unprepared papers and canvases on which the artist paints are often textured and dirty. The surface of each painting is filled with activity that provides a subtle glimpse into the artist’s painting process.
Like his captions, Edelhuber purports to draw content from his everyday experiences, especially when he attempts to juggle child rearing with the specifics of daily life and work. The artist conceives aspects of his own experiences as pseudo-universal, hoping that the viewer can relate to them directly. His date and signature stamps reinforce the personal nature of the paintings and are often attached to the end of his captions, always functioning as functional elements of a larger composition. Certain figures and phrases are also repeated over and over. In this exhibition, the owl and the alligator (which happen to be native to Tennessee) are important figures. In some cases, they are even one and the same “character,” embodied in a variety of situations ranging from the picturesque to the comical. In addition, Jonathan Edelhuber now makes a loose series of flat sculptures, always featuring a sculpture of a famous artist on a stack of books.
In the summer of 2021, Edelhuber’s works were on display at the Gana Art Center in Seoul, Korea.