When we think of paintings, we don’t really picture very long, slowly evolving serialized concepts, but a German artist by the name of Jonas is doing precisely that by making a number of abstract paintings that gradually shift color gradients. Seeing one of them out of context doesn’t really do the trick. It’s far better to either visit Jonas’ Instagram account, vvwjonaswvv, or his website, then scroll down and watch as the colors gradually shift with each new painted abstraction. The work, both as an ongoing whole and as distinct pieces, look as if Jonas has combined color field and minimalist painting with the visual language of comics and esoteric glyphs.
Jonas tells Creators he decided to work with colors in this way because he likes to create a lot of paintings, and feels that each should have an individual color combination; even if the gradation between two paintings, when positioned side-by-side, is barely visible.
“I wanted to have as many colors in the spectrum as possible for this project,” says Jonas. “I like that if you put a bunch of paintings together, each following the other, you can see the transformation of color and the changes that occur in the combination of two (the same red looks different on a green and a yellow background).”
To create his paintings, Jonas uses only acrylic paint and two brushes—one for mixing the color and painting the background, and the other to paint a second layer with a shifted color gradient. After finishing a painting, Jonas photographs and uploads it to Instagram with different hashtags and titles that are, rather interestingly, people’s names.
“If somebody ‘likes/hearts’ one of my paintings or ‘follows’ me, I take a look at their profiles and ask them ‘Hello, would you like to choose one of my paintings so I can give it your name?’ and wait for what comes,” says Jonas. “The decision to ask someone comes intuitively from the moment, just as I make the paintings intuitively… this has some roots in the surrealistic theory and different abstract art forms.”
Jonas describes this intuitive work as having a few different “rational anchors.” These help him to avoid falling into a world of pure abstraction.
“With paint, one of those anchors is to stay in the moment, to see what I like to do with the fluid paint—that will dry shortly—in every moment until the painting is finished,” he says. “Another important anchor is that they should be open for interpretation, and with associations you should see different things in them. What comes out are paintings that are influenced by many epochs of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and everything in between.”
Jonas says that the this is an ongoing project, and ultimately he would like to exhibit some of the work. But, not for the reasons one might expect.
“I would be interested to see how people who take part in this project come together,” Jonas says. “Maybe making contact with each other, asking themselves who else is in it, and who is represented by which painting, and who is maybe the artist.”
Click here to see more work by Jonas.