Jonathan Chapline

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What is my work about?

My practice is about the exploration between the digital and the physical. I emulate digital modes of representational space produced physically through paint. Sourcing different imagery from stock photos, movie scenes and photographs, I combine them to create the overall image which plays into familiar archetypes of anonymous online identities. Modes of incidence from the digital sources are retained in the overall painting through the shapes, the colors, and the gradients. Digital elements are achieved through the hard edge lines in paint which translates as the pen tool from Photoshop. Through the process, the paint builds up giving tactile experiences in a digital language.

Artist Statement

I make art that reflects the everyday. Approaching from positions of genre and domesticity, my work pulls iconographic and thematic influences from suburbia and its inherent conflicts. I grew up in Waco, Texas, a small town and self­ proclaimed moral center where church steeples and American flags dominated the skyline. Here, I began witnessing an underlying conflict in the community: a clash of ideals hidden behind facades that seemed to uphold an image of perfection. My work depicts this false perfection with elements of flattened and implausible space, frustrating viewers seeking familiarity and instead leading them towards the uncanny.

Taken from collections of JPEGs sourced online, compressed cell phone photos, home interior magazines, and scenes from movies, these images are collaged via Photoshop to create an alternate world. This world merges real and imagined spaces, creating both a digital simulation and a documentation of space. I highlight familiar, yet unlikely objects, such as a disposable cup, a household plant, or an ashtray. The objects are simplified into hard edge shapes referencing vector lines and Photoshop polygon tools on the surface of the panel. For example, gradients of raindrops painted on top of the surface in “Emulated Landscape” create the notion of a windowpane without having to describe one. This vocabulary plays into the idea of using simple marks to create larger overarching ideas.

In ‘Virtual Character on Hyperreal Surface’ and ‘Late Night Cyber Troll’, a gestural figure nods to characters lifted from Hollywood cinema, but appears as a hollow two ­dimensional version. Resting on tropes from David Lynch and Cronenberg’s body horror, the planes of the face are composed of gradients and geometric shapes, creating an avatar as a stand­in for the actual portrait. Reference to Fernand Léger arise in objects such as a cylinder in place of a cigar, extrudes from a mouth. The human elements are stripped away and left behind is the bare minimum alluding to this generation’s proclivity to process the world through cell phones and digital screens.



2010 BFA Painting, Rhode Island School of Design

2009 European Honors Program, RISD, Rome, Italy

Selected exhibitions
Hotel California, Bushwick Open Studios, Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Dear You , Field Projects, Chelsea.
Studio Jams , 75 10th Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Secret Santa’s Car Key Party, Orgy Park, Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Line of Sight, Gallery MC, New York, NY.
From: RISD In Rome: European Honors Program, Woods Gerry, Providence, RI.
False Visions, Wayfarers, Brooklyn.
Homesickness, Glasshouse, Brooklyn.

WAH Bridges Bushwick, WAH Center, Brooklyn.
East End Emerging Artists, ILLE Arts, Amagansett, NY.
Atmospheric Pressure, WAH Center, Brooklyn.
Happiness Comix #2, New York.

Go Brooklyn Art Open Studios, Brooklyn.
Post Parallel, 57 Grand. Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

All Your Art Are Belong to Us, The Active Space. Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Directional Float, The Active Space. Bushwick, Brooklyn.
MMMW, 180 Noll St Apartment Show. Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Coming Home, WhiteHall Center, Waco, Texas.
Beat Night Open Studios. Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Senior Invitational, Woods-Gerry Gallery RISD, Providence, RI
Homecoming Memorial Hall Gallery RISD, Providence, RI

Writing projects