“In my work, I try to blur the boundary between painting and sculpture in order to create what can be regarded as a three-dimensional painting. Drawing on the languages of Pop and Minimalism, abstraction and representation, I make recognizable objects, such as milk containers, shopping bags, or matchbooks, using traditional painting and printing materials and techniques. By focusing on mundane, ephemeral, or disposable subjects, I want my work to be both ordinary and poetic, accessible and transfigured.” - Jonathan Seliger
Jonathan Seliger, born 1955 New York, studied English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York, Binghamton. He has worked as an art critic, art journal editor, curator and gallery director before transitioning to painting in 1990. Seliger began by creating small scale dimensional representations of common, everyday objects such as matchbooks, envelopes, milk cartons. The artist was responding to the objects’ specificity, worldliness and transitory value.
The artist is known for his meticulous execution and his play with scale. Intriguing titles add a dimension of humor and critique to the work. Seliger’s luxury shopping bag series which he began in 2000 exemplifies these qualities. “I like the way they (shopping bags) evoke transportedness, carrying something from one place to another – a resting point between destinations. In this case what they carry is not fixed or solid, but constantly shifting: they convey meaning. What they hold is not ”inside, it’s all on the surface.” Further, he said, “….these pieces are meant to be seductive, beautiful – a celebration and a critique.”*
Seliger has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
*Interview with Ian Berry reproduced in the exhibition catalogue for Jonathan Seliger Floor Model, The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2001.