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Jonathan Wahl
updated: 11/20/2008
website: jonathanwahl.com
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
Eye of Mordor
Chain Knot
Darth Vader's Mouthpeice
Facet
Infinity
Meteor
Saturn's Rings
Totem
Pool-Reflection
Trail
 
Portfolio Keywords:  craft, historical, portraiture, mimetic
 
 
Eye of Mordor by Jonathan Wahl
Eye of Mordor
charcoal
2008
40 " x  50 " 
Chain Knot by Jonathan Wahl
Chain Knot
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Darth Vader's Mouthpeice by Jonathan Wahl
Darth Vader's Mouthpeice
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Facet by Jonathan Wahl
Facet
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Infinity by Jonathan Wahl
Infinity
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Meteor by Jonathan Wahl
Meteor
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Saturn's Rings by Jonathan Wahl
Saturn's Rings
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Totem by Jonathan Wahl
Totem
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 
Pool-Reflection by Jonathan Wahl
Pool-Reflection
charcoal
2008
49 " x  50 " 
Trail by Jonathan Wahl
Trail
charcoal
2008
40" x  50" 

Artist Statement
J O N A T H A N  C.  WA H L

The Jet Drawing Series.
In my current body of work, a series of ten, 40" x 50" charcoal drawings of Victorian jet mourning jewelry, I am interested in scale and perception. I am intrigued with how the viewer relates to or perceives these historical objects of jewelry when rendered larger than life, out of scale, and how this shift from three dimensions to two parallels a rift between jewelry and fine art.

The jet jewelry that were the models for my drawings were made during the mid to late 19th century carved by hand from jet, a fossilized material similar to coal but more durable. They were worn during a woman's period of mourning after the death of a loved one when wearing conventional precious jewelry would have been deemed inappropriate.

Today these objects seem Gothic, yet contemporary and almost timeless due to their reflective surfaces and monochromatism. Yet today, we could barely imagine reenacting their specific and prescribed sociological role in Victorian society. Both the objects' timeless beauty and our alienation from their original roles make them perfectly ambiguous when viewed in the scale in which I have rendered them. I am more interested in them for these qualities than any nostalgic longing for gothic mourning.

Rendered as large drawings they become abstracted, transcending their history and meaning and become ominous objects of unknown origin. They invite the viewer to speculate and draw them in. Being both a jeweler and sculptor I am very aware of how my clients view both fields differently, drawn to them for very different reasons, as well as how the larger art world classifies them. In this current work, I hope to invite the viewer to speculate on the myriad of reasons they might be drawn to the qualities inherent in both jewelry and fine art and perhaps explore what this shift means. How would they perceive these drawings differently if framed behind their couch or worn as a brooch on their jacket?

Artist Bio / CV

J O N A T H A N  C.  WA H L

Jonathan Wahl’s art work ranges from sculpture to the decorative arts.  His work has been featured or reviewed in publications as diverse as the New York Times, Art in America, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, W Jewelry, Metalsmith magazine, Harpers Bazaar and the Advocate among others.   

He has been awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and the Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths Award for "Outstanding Achievement." Part of the permanent collection of the American Craft Museum he was named one of the top-10 jewelers to watch by W Jewelry in 2006. Mr. Wahl is an accomplished artist who, from 1994 to 1995, served as artist-in-residence at Hochschule Der Kunst in Berlin, Germany. Mr Wahl’s work is exhibited both nationally and internationally.