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international painting annual 3 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Jonathan Queen
Cincinnati, Ohio

detail image


When seeing the world around me, I focus on subtle color shifts, temperatures of light and shadow, textural details and reflections.  Realistic painting provides a way for me to translate these qualities into my paintings.  Whether I am painting vintage toys, rusty antiques, or tattered  books, nothing arrives in my compositions by chance.  Still life painting is a perfect way for me to explore visual narratives.  Each object must be an integral part of the composition and enhance the symbolic meaning.  Sometimes new compositions are arranged and rearranged for hours, days, and sometimes weeks before starting the painting.  By painting from observation, I can respond to the objects in a direct way unlike photos which are are already a translation of the subject.  A common method of mine is composing within a shadowbox where the walls become a personal stage for the narrative inside.

Ideas for paintings sometimes are generated from a thought, a song, a bible passage, or something from art history.  Other times I search online auctions or through antique stores until an interesting object sparks an idea for a painting.  Aside from the original use of any given object, they are painted with reverence.  I want my paintings to draw people in and hopefully they see beyond the simple subject and contemplate what the meaning could be behind the surface layer.  My meanings are sometimes social commentary, other times comedic, or reminders to slow down and reflect.  Some symbolism in my work deals with the struggle between body and spirit.  A specific example is "Within Reach."  A created man carries his vice.  The oil can is an enabler to move freely, but it goes unnoticed.  Time is running out while the tin man reaches for the heart model; life, love, desire.  Apollo pursuing Daphne in Bernin'‚s sculpture reinforces the theme.  There is also a visual similarity of branches and heart arteries.

I paint personal meaning into each painting but I don't assume that there will be a unanimous understanding.  Every viewer brings their own history to a work of art.  My hope is to start a visual and mental conversation with the viewer that they continue by engaging the image.  Similar to Rorschach tests, various people see the same imagery and create different narratives.  My goal is to captivate viewers with imagery that causes them to see something they might normally ignore.  Seeing beyond the objects and considering the content can raise something simple to the sublime.


born: 1975, Lexington, KY


University of Cincinnati, BFA, 2001

selected awards/honors

"People's Choice Award", Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River, OR, 2010
"AIA Grant", Summerfair Cincinnati, 2008
"Honorable Mention", International 'ARC Salon' Competition, 2004

selected publications

"Sketchbook Confidential 2", North Light Books, p. 116-119, 171, 2012
"100 Artists of the Midwest", Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., p.140-141, 2012
"Toy Tableaux", The Artist's Magazine p. 44-49, March 2009

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Miller Gallery: Altered States, Cincinnati, OH, 2012
Miller Gallery: Timur Akhriev & Jonathan Queen, Cincinnati, OH, 2009

selected group shows

Peter Walker Fine Art: More Real Than Real, Adelaide, Australia, 2012
John P. Weatherhead Gallery: Objects of Interest: Five Contemporary Still Life Artists, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN, 2011
Columbia Center for the Arts: Childhood Remembered, Hood River, OR, 2010
Miller Gallery: Jefferson Queen Smith, Cincinnati, OH, 2007



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