Jon Witzky is a painter living in Savannah, Georgia.
My paintings deal with the comingling of the past and the present – a strange intersection between fact and fantasy. I have recently begun thinking of my paintings as sites of excavation, stripping away old layers of paint to reveal that which is hidden beneath. This excavation has come to have deeper significance in the current moment that we find ourselves in, being locked in our homes and isolated from others we have had to spend a lot more time with ourselves, examining our beliefs and character. This type of self-examination is happening around the world and in many different ways, which makes it a beautiful and frightening shared experience.
My work is both abstract and figurative with inspirations coming from movies, TV shows and old family photos, but mainly from observation – paying attention to the way that the night looks and feels, allowing myself to be present in the moment and to bring that back to the canvas. There is also quite a bit of inspiration that comes directly out of the practice of painting – as if the painting is a living thing and, in some sense, has its own design and movement. There is a lot of struggle that comes through the process of creation and experimentation. Maybe it’s the struggle that I find more interesting than the idea of inspiration – inspiration gives the impetus to begin a painting, but it is through the struggle that the painting really emerges. Some paintings are relatively easy, there is no struggle – or not much of one - but some paintings are a constant battle, and sometimes the painter loses. I’ve lost a few.
I work with oils, acrylic, ink and anything else that might help me create the image that I
am trying to get. Over the past few years I have begun making my own paint out of dry pigment, this gives me control over the color and consistency of my paint. I typically work on canvas or wood panels – I worked strictly on wood panels for years until my paintings got too big. My mom is a painter and I was raised with the smells of oils and paint mediums around the house, it is something that will always carry deep associations for me. It is this emotional and primal connection with the materials that I use that binds the work together conceptually.
I hope that my paintings point to a sense of mystery and spiritual awe inspired by life. In
my life and work I see the past and the present as coexisting, maybe imperfectly, in an
ever-expansive moment and these are themes that have remained constant in my work
for many years. Through the action of layering and stripping away, veiling and revealing, my work points both to the present moment as it is informed by the past - a past that exists only as experienced through the act of remembrance.
Jon can often be found working in his studio at Sulfur Studios in Savannah.
MFA, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2018
BFA, Ohio State University, 2014
2021, TBA, 600 Broad, Augusta, GA
2020, Solo Exhibition, TBA, Averitt Center, Statesboro, GA
2020, Solo Exhibition, TBA, Gallery Espresso, Savannah, GA
2020, Solo Exhibition, Bailout, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2020, Spectrum, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2020, Hunter Underground, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN
2020, Chroma, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2019, Solo Exhibition, Between Dog and Wolf, Peacock Gallery, Middle Georgia State University, Cochran, GA
2019, Solo Exhibition, Imaginary Lives, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2019, Desire/Longing, Expose Art House, Montgomery, AL
2019, Home, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2018, White Elephant, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA
2018, 5th Annual Living Mark Exhibition, Verum Ultimum, Portland, OR
2018, Two Person Exhibition, Between Spaces , 304 Gallery, Carbondale, IL
2018 Wet Paint MFA Biennial, Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL (Jurors:
ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou, artists and founders Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL, catalogue)
2017 Solo Exhibition, After the Blues, Vergette Gallery, Carbondale
2016 The Cabinet of Solar Plexus, Gallery X, Dublin Ireland (catalogue)