Live Installation Charity Event
10/25 @ 6pm
Prohibition Gallery is pleased to present Alysian, a homecoming solo exhibition of new work by Jonni Cheatwood, this Saturday, September 13.
From being discovered by Usher, to being ripped off by Urban Outfitters, Cheatwood’s footprint in the art world is steps away from limited edition.
Cheatwood’s work is almost casually raw, not in the process itself, but in intensity when he approaches a canvas. Arriving at each canvas, he narrows in on the concept that, theoretically, he can smear anything he wants, which forces a condition that requires him to react by changing his first move by building off of it or destroying it. The viewer is given a sense of his studio practice, chronicling how pastel and paint-caked soles of his shoes might be dancing from one piece to another; leaving a stamp on whichever canvas lies beneath him. Yet his paintings are pristine, almost defiantly so.
Sometimes Jonni will work on six large canvases at the same time, which enables him to create fluidity and cohesion in his work. This motion from piece to piece is the core of the artwork; though the heart and soul behind the work are the texts that are influenced from the poetry of Langston Hughes, James Oppenheim and William Blake. Cheatwood saw these words as words of innocence, but simultaneously triumphant. Each word visible on these paintings is homage to a duality between aesthetic beauty and ferocity. That duality is exactly what Alysian is about.
Cheatwood’s large-scale paintings imply action, movement and chaos -- meticulously composed of hewn, stitched canvases that often incorporate fragments of text, shoe prints, coffee and debris such as dust and dirt. Cheatwood’s studio is a cradle of dirt, stepped-on oil sticks and pastels that have found their way onto the unprimed canvases that spent most of their time on his studio floor. This rough treatment only adds to the allure of the paintings’ primitive style, as these paintings go from floor to the walls, then back to the floors.
In these works, it is easy to see influences from the likes of Basquiat, Pollock, Schnabel, Bradley and cave paintings with their bold lines, big colors and beaten textures. These large abstractions and scribbled looking passages in bright colors are set against areas of canvas marked only with foot prints or dirt; the viewers eyes should move restlessly over them, not knowing where to focus their attention. The works at Prohibition Gallery offer a lot of visual appeal. Visible stitching -- pulling the viewer’s attention from the imagery to the foundation -- disrupt each piece intentionally, as do the textures of the oil stick’s residue left on the canvas. Some of these works feature hasty sketches from his opposing left hand and some feature parts where he is using his right hand to paint with a brush and simultaneously using his left hand to draw a bold line. A few of these canvases are painted on both sides, resulting in a faint bleed visible from the back to the front, which is a dialogue with the heavily painted front, which will often include contrasting colors and texture laid over each other. This to Jonni is a visual energy; a force portrayed onto canvas, infused by the liveliness of music blaring over Cheatwood’s paintings, coupled with a far more candid and intimate glimpse into his brain in motion than his previous works.
Join us this Saturday, from 6pm - 9pm. See you then!
Jonni Cheatwood Instagram
Prohibition Gallery Instagram
Jonni Cheatwood is a Los Angeles native, Phoenix-based artist who received his BFA from Arizona State University in 2011. He has exhibited paintings and installations in galleries in Arizona and Oregon. His work has been internationally recognized by publications both in digital and print by Interview Magazine, ffffound, Juxtapoz, Ignant.de, ELLE, Fashion for Men Magazine, and Exhibition-ism. Along with a music video installment by Usher.