THERE IS NO HEAVEN FOR CONCEPTS, the first solo exhibition for Detroit artist Jonathan Rajewski, is a special kind of pain for people like me, who can barely repress their desire to touch artwork. Materiality is the watchword of this entirely new body of work by Rajewski, created entirely within a 30-day timespan, and for a texturephile every wall is screaming to be touched.
Rajewski’s mediums include astroturf, a luchador mask, copper lithograph printing, and a body bag. While the palette is deceptively bright and inviting, a closer pass at the array of abused, stretched, burned, and torn canvases begins to reveal a dark undercurrent. There is an undertone of violence in the application of oil and acrylic paint in blotches and smears, a kind of apathy implied apathy in Rajewski’s continued use of ink and coffee spills to create background washes, and a sense of menace that goes beyond hinting in pieces like PERSONA or BODYBAG, and aggression that even spills outside the frame of STUDY OF EFFACEMENT to score one of the gallery walls with gouges.
There is a great deal to be said about Rajewski’s ability to work quickly; while a solo exhibition can sometimes show an career unfolding over time, THERE IS NO HEAVEN FOR CONCEPTS gives a sense of capturing a snapshot of the artist’s interior monologue at a point in time. With images like these, it would seem to avail Rajewski to summon and discharge them quickly. Overall a deeply affecting and candid body of work and a breakout solo debut for Rajewski, who continues to draw attention with his keen instincts and willingness to utilize any means, medium, or material in his quest for self-expression.