Artists are translators. Like all creators, artists take their experiences, emotions, beliefs and knowledge and move this way of seeing into a new form, a combination: an object of expression, a piece of art.

 

Jonathan Lane takes his experiences, emotions, beliefs and knowledge and translates his way of seeing into pieces of art using the techniques and skill of an oil painter.

 

We judge art (and the artist) by how the unique expressions and technical achievements come together in images meaningful to the viewer. Lane’s art is bare and figurative, he says, lacking narrative. He thinks and paints in series, meaning each work is an episode, substantive in the singular but meaningful also in the collective. He does not paint portraits or the human form. Yet Jonathan is wrong about his work lacking narrative: each series does tell stories – both for the artist and for the viewer – but they aren’t necessarily the same. And if a picture never tells the same story to all, what else can it be but a work of beauty?

 

Lane’s works are filled with recognizable and unrecognizable forms. The artist uses skill, talent and technique with a palette of closely related colors to move the viewer into recognition and reflection. His talent lies in taking the familiar – water, trees, mountains, and buildings – to render it unfamiliar through subtle and dramatic use of tones, often of the same colour. His study of the water of the Marseille Calanques marvels the viewer with the many different blues of the Mediterranean: its light blue spray, its marine darkness, and its troubled currents.

 

Lane’s work promotes peace through lack of resolution. Any one of his pieces can be judged for expression and technical achievement. But seen together, as series, one sees his perceptive depth and range, recognizing his burgeoning trajectory as talented artist.

 

His current work captures the regal beauty of trees, their complexity, their irreducibility; the way a tree stands unique, proclaiming something fundamental about the nature of the world.

 

The viewer wants to sit for hours with a Lane painting. Just as you think you have seen everything in a Lane canvas, its arresting balances of light and color, shade and tone draw you back in. A Lane canvas affords the viewer a return to the state we were once in when the familiar was still unfamiliar. To see through Lane’s eyes – to see what he has translated into art – is to see something as familiar as a tree or water for the very first time.

 

Patrick Timmons