The CONCORD ART ASSOCIATION, located at 37 Lexington Road, Concord, MA will open an exhibition featuring the contemporary paintings of Jon Imber, Friday, April 8 from 6 to 8:00 pm. The exhibition will run from April 7 through May 1, 2005. The exhibition will include a artist talk on Thursday, April 14, from 7 – 8:00 pm.
“Jon Imber’s new paintings breath with life and joy. Imber paints the landscapes of Maine in the spiritual tradition of Marsden Hartley. He uses recognizable forms to explore man’s relationship with nature. Subtle diagonals pull us slowly through the landscape while expressive vertical marks provide tempo for our progression as we experience a moment of color here or find a piece of identifiable landscape there. This richly orchestrated pilgrimage is as much an ode to the landscape as it is a display of the sheer exuberance of laying paint on canvas.”
Carrie Sanin, Northern Woodlands, Winter 2004
All of Jon Imber’s paintings in the exhibit at the Concord Art Association are plein air paintings. Jon rarely “works up” a painting because he doesn’t find it as fulfilling as responding to change in light, weather, shadows and forms on location. He needs to look and respond to nature and transforms what he sees into his own vocabulary of shapes and color. His landscapes, still image based, are pushed towards his own invention using shape, colors, marks and gestures. Jon doesn’t try to capture what he sees but uses it as a stepping off point. Very specific landscapes grab his attention, yet not necessarily on an emotional level. “On some level a place speaks to me, but it’s not content, like something about home, unlike my wife who connects to the landscape of Maine because of her childhood memories of it.”
In 1985, Jon Imber started painting the landscape, in earnest, after ten years of working with the figure. In 1985, he completed a large painting of his uncle’s farm located in the New York side of the Berkshires, not far from Tanglewood. At this place, there was that emotional connection to the landscape. It was a dramatic background for many childhood memories. Completed in 2004,the painting is called “Hillside, October.” Imber says,”For me, it holds dramatic exciting shapes, not spectacular, yet there are a lot of ups and downs, back and forth movements in the painting.”
The landscapes in the exhibit at the Concord Art Association are culled from work the artist created in the last two years. In 2002, Imber spent time painting in Ireland. Painting someplace new freed a part of his painting and he found himself more informed by the Irish paintings.
The impetus behind the paintings does change from one painting to another. Sometimes it’s the form or lighting and on occasion some sense of emotional attachment. He wants the painting to be challenging and exciting taking off after the shapes and forms.
“As much as I’m drawn to the place I like to mess it up a little either with a challenging color or a mark that functions as a dissonant cord.” His work resonates with the enthusiasm for nature’s surprises, always eager to open the door to an unexpected moment.
With a BFA from Cornell University and an MFA from Boston University, Jon is currently represented by Nielsen Gallery, Boston and G. Watson Gallery, Stonington, Maine. His work is in numerous collections, including the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, ME and the Currier Gallery of American Art. Manchester, NH. In addition, he has been the recipient of numerous awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Engelhard Foundation, Massachusetts lottery Grant and the Ballinglen Arts Foundation. Jon lives and works with his wife and son in Somerville, MA.