Portraits and Patterns | Dissonance and Symmetry
September 15, 2023 to November 4, 2023
Through a vast experimentation of materials, Jonathan Franklin’s exhibit Portraits and Patterns / Dissonance and Symmetry presents a diverse tapestry of distorted woven portraits and a kaleidoscope of symmetrical patterns that explore precarious relationships between discord and harmony. Through his process-based practice, Franklin works intuitively and in a nonlinear fashion to manipulate, scrutinize, and revise materials. Rarely knowing where the process will lead, he will take days, weeks, months, years and sometimes decades before finishing a work.
The human figure is a central point of departure for Franklin, which he says is a visual metaphor that is universally accessible, even when represented in nontraditional ways. In his Woven Portrait series, Franklin uses discarded painted paper and remnants of other materials to weave together mini paper tapestries. He then adds facial features to create portraits that reveal a dissonance, not unlike that engendered in Cubism, the early 20th Century art movement that promoted both the distortion of reality and varying perspectives to represent subjects.
As a point of contrast, Franklin’s interest in creating art that promotes a sense of order and harmony is the motivation behind his Kaleidoscope studies. Elements of radial symmetry are seen through Franklin’s doodles, geometric forms, and text, which he repeats, flips, and reverses to transform into elaborately filigreed symmetrical designs, resembling patterns seen when looking into a kaleidoscope.
Dissonance and symmetry combined, Franklin believes his Woven Portraits and Kaleidoscopes are emblematic of humanity, and states: “We are the sum of many parts, amalgams of diverse environments and life experiences. In a crowd, we merge as one, but on closer inspection – like fingerprints, each portrait is different and every kaleidoscope unique. Together, the combined pieces are exceptional.”
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