Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world.
Walking into Jonathan’s studio one feels an immediate flow of energy: the colors are intense, the strokes are bold, there is an immediate sense of purpose and exploration. Hung high on the non-working wall are two dream-like paintings of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, a miraculous feat of cooperative science that contains the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. Facing them are large images painted on mylar inspired by particle theory, a dynamic imagining of the interactions of minuscule particles rooted in the specific mathematical formulas that govern their actions.
The recurring splash motif that crops up in many of Jonathan Feldschuh’s work seems to come directly from the hand dropping pigment from a huge house-painting brush loaded with paint. In fact, the image is derived from his research into various scientific experiments, such as the “Ligament Mediated Drop Formation,” or the “Mach Wave Radiation from a Jet.” The latter is described on Feldschuh’s website as being a “benchtop simulation of a problem in fluid dynamics.” Ironically, this description of the scientific experiment could actually be describing the phenomena of paint, particularly the term, “fluid dynamics.”
The interplay between science and art is fascinating but ill-defined. Does science produce a kind of art almost incidentally, for example the images of sub-atomic particles colliding in a linear accelerator? They certainly look like art—abstract and evocative. But doesn’t a work of art have to be created with an intention to be so? If not, then any interesting image would be art and that would disturb the existing social system of values that insists that art be created by artists and science by scientists.
Art & Science, Re-mixed
A full spectrum of vivid, blowtorched colors blasts out from several of Jonathan Feldschuh’s new paintings. Others are more muted in hue but no less multicolored or rich. Still others have the respite of a deep blue-black ground. All, however, radiate an intergalactic glow as if seen through an immense mediating lens probing the furthest reaches of immeasurable space. They might be details of the elegant universe in either macro- or micro-mode or they might be non-representational paintings. Feldschuh, like many artists today, likes it at least both ways, collapsing the syntax of representation into that of abstraction. Nonetheless, for this series, his (con)figurations are based on actual images, taken from simulations created by supercomputers or in wind tunnels and other test sites. Feldschuh says he is interested in less familiar scientific imagery and in phenomena that can’t be observed directly.
Recent advances in computer-imaging technology have allowed scientists to picture the inconceivable by capturing background radiation emanating from the Big Bang. The result is a beautiful digital rendering that still gives the novice very little sense of what the universe actually looks like. Jonathan Feldschuh has made the wise decision to turn these data accumulations into something more tangible, a painting such as Early Universe North Galactic Hemisphere. Not that anyone still believes in painting’s truth-telling capacity, but acrylic on canvas offers a degree of materiality that is welcome when dealing with mind-bending abstractions.
Little Corner of the World
These are strange paintings. They spell mayhem and decay.
Looking like cell and tissue lab specimens suspended in formaldehyde, one is taken aback by the intensity found in these abstract forms. Their loose cartoon-like shapes are drawn with anatomical precision although they are the by-products of a random process.
Using an expressionist painter’s drip and pour technique, the artist Jonathan Feldschuh layers his canvases with a thick build-up of several clear polymer coats which magnify colorful loopy forms floating beneath the transparent viscous surface. Quite heavy and industrial in appearance, these canvases, (stretched over wood panels), show details of organic forms which have been enlarged or reduced thousands of times in scale. With contrary titles like “Little Corner of the World” and “Wash It Till You Get It Clean”, this series has a humorous undercurrent.