In Gallery X, Waldo extols ordinary icons in his exhibition, “I'll Never Say Never to Always.”
Jon Waldo looks to multiple sources for his iconic, nostalgic imagery from within the language of the ordinary. “I’ll Never Say Never to Always” is chock-full of familiar, kitsch symbolism. Motorcycles, automobiles and engines are surrounded by radiating, multicolored lines, glowing like neon signage. Harleys and Pintos strike the nostalgic tones, and Waldo’s Ouija board Planchette (Black) harkens back to the innocence of childhood. Many works ascribe to a vintage pop mentality, though some, like the rickety white shack in Cabin, feel more intimate and homey --a much different sort of vernacular that summons narratives as varied as the viewers who look upon it.
Waldo’s paintings are all networks of line drawings, wrought in low relief on the canvas, either as the multihued main central image or as raised, monochromatic shadows of the primary figure. The artist’s unique making process begins with a line drawing that is then translated into a stencil through which artist’s modeling paste is squeezed onto the canvas. For the very first time, these stencils will be exhibited along with Waldo’s paintings, to be considered as art objects in their own rights. In “I’ll Never Say Never to Always,” Waldo elevates these skeletal remnants of the painting process, mingling the history of the paintings’ making with the histories already embedded within this iconic, but commonplace imagery.
New York-based artist Jon Waldo began his career amongst the 80s punk scene in New York, and has since had his paintings featured in such galleries and institutions as Columbia University School of the Arts, New Jersey’s Shore Institute of the Contemporary Arts, and La Mama La Galleria in New York, as well as in publications including The Brooklyn Rail and Art & Antiques. Waldo received his BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In addition to his full-time pursuits as an artist, Waldo raises triplet teenagers in the city of Manhattan.