Toronto born painter Howard Lonn graduated from OCAD in the early 1980’s. Following his studies he lived and worked in Toronto, Florence, Montreal, Barcelona and Berlin. He has exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Barcelona, and Madrid and shown with Sable-Castelli, Nicholas Metivier and Birch Contemporary. His work is in such collections as Art Gallery of Ontario, McMaster Museum of Art, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Sun Life of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Torys, Toronto, Encana Calgary, TD Bank, Toronto as well as private collections in Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, Madrid and New York.
Much of Lonn’s work over the last ten or so years has been described as architectural in their forms and structure. The forms deployed in more recent paintings possess an architectonic sense of scale and structure, however, free of the burden of giving us an architectural image. Lonn’s ambition for current work in progress includes eluding a consonant pictorial resolution providing the identifiable thing. As Ihor Holubizky wrote in his essay Howard Lonn: Signals Back the World (2012): “In the end a structure necessary for his painting appears, and makes it knowable, yet not to describe, but to propose.”
In these paintings a brushstroke is as much a depiction of the painted mark as it is the very thing itself. The images are created as if composed of spare parts and detritus from various other paintings. Windows, blurred gradient fields, dry, flat scrubbed grounds, liquid brushstrokes are formal elements – the component parts of a vocabulary.
I made these paintings with an ongoing “background music” of a handful of Rainer Werner Fassbinder films in my mind (as well as all the other things that everyone is thinking about these days). The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, and World on a Wire, were especially relevant aesthetic reference points. While I did not quote colour palettes or any other concrete elements from the films in these paintings, I will claim a sympathy of feeling. I too, dream in Douglas Sirk colour palettes.
In retrospect my early and mid years as an artist appear to have been driven by incoming signals from all manner of cultural references, tuned to the zeitgiest frequency. In the present I see that my antenna is ever so slightly off the frequency, the signals are not always whole. This leaves me some space to examine the contents of my visual, painterly language. Likely with the aim of disposing of the useless clutter.
I think these paintings are a first investment in that endeavour. – Howard Lonn, 2020