Lines, curves, and reflections; the dissolution of tone over a great distance; the location of the horizon on a misty beach: the artist Jonathan Cramer uses both two- and three-dimensional media in his practice, which might be viewed as an in-depth study of light, natural forms, and the logic of craft. Cramer works in the holy classical triumvirate of drawing, painting, and sculpture, often letting the end product of his explorations in one medium inform a piece rendered in the other. Elongated, silvery contours and arcs that double back onto themselves form the bases for abstract painted compositions whose complex figure-ground relationships recall the heyday of Morris Louis. Meanwhile, the sculptures that inform the paintings, rendered in stainless steel, have a decidedly architectural character. Their long, slender shining arcs sing with the promise of geometry and the rational mind, and every angle reveals a new composition filled with delicate complexity. They dovetail perfectly with Cramer’s drawings, which explode with nervous energy.
A new show, “Jonathan Cramer: Drawing, Sculpture, Painting” at Southampton Arts Center in Southampton, New York, is Cramer’s most ambitious showing in over ten years, and comprises work in all three of the media that make up the inseparable focus of Cramer’s mature artistic practice. The wide-ranging pieces that make up the show, over sixty in total, offer a comprehensive view of Cramer’s practice and the concepts behind it. For both novitiates as well as those who already know and appreciate Cramer’s work, the splendid natural setting of the Center provides a perfect backdrop for a mid-career survey that’s rich in visual pleasure and conceptual rigor to back it up.
“Jonathan Cramer: Drawing, Sculpture, Painting” runs through August 17 at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, New York.
Kevin Greenberg is the art editor of The Last Magazine. He is also a practicing architect and the principal of Space Exploration, an integrated architecture and interior design firm located in New York. In addition to his work for The Last Magazine, Kevin is an editor of PIN-UP, a semi-annual “magazine for architectural entertainment.”