Jonathan Dalton

MELBOURNE ART FAIR

22 February — 25 February 2024

Born 1977
Lives and works in Sydney

View profile

Represented by nanda\hobbs

A first reading of Jonathan Dalton’s show ‘The Silhouette of Opulence, the Shadow of a Labyrinth’ implores a deep appreciation for his exemplary technical skill - which is a wonder to view in person. The mind trips at his exacting eye, curious compositions, and easy comfort with his materials. A second reading reveals an insight into the artist’s curiosity about life, politics, literature, and perhaps a latent naval gaze.

A self-described slow worker, this show is a gentle evolution of past shows (bowls of submerged objects)—and the way we associate with objects, and through those objects the world around us. It is not important to Dalton that audiences understand his meaning, but it is his hope that on some level the technical ability is sufficient enough to garner their attention —and then maybe question what else is intended.

This show seeks to address different aspects of wealth, status, and beauty and is about interpreting people through the objects, myths and ideas that we hold dear and find interesting on both a broad and personal scale. The body of work, in classic Dalton style is also infused with wit and humour. As an Irishman, Dalton uses humour in a very ‘Irish’ way to deal with important or difficult subjects. The inclusion of fish is notably “because the fish don’t care.” In doing so, Dalton artfully removes objects from their natural habitat, further alienating the object from their context to elicit the absurdity of a notion.

There has always been aspects of other artists work in Dalton’s oeuvre, because he finds it such a strong shared visual language. It is clear that Dalton enjoys taking this language, abstracting it and recontextualising it in his work to provoke a slightly tongue-in-cheek commentary. There are references to artists Matisse, Hokusai, Liechtenstein, Hockney, and Warhol; and authors Austen, Salinger, and Hemingway. Particular homage is made to artist David Hockney, who Dalton describes as his “spirit animal.” Hockney moved to California from small rural town in the UK, because he was left a small inheritance from his aunt. This is a similar tale to Dalton’s own narrative, bequeathed a small inheritance from a beloved aunt which enabled his move from Ireland to Spain, and the ignition of his art career.

Dalton also integrates veins of politics— Western Populism, violence in Northern Ireland, the Catholic Church and the Monarchy, as well as the physics of Schrödinger, and the philosophy of Solomon’s Seal. Notably Ireland circa 1977 —two Polaroid cameras with chess pieces, which denotes the year Dalton was born. At that time it was the violence in Northern Ireland that dominated Irish culture, and the impact that the Catholic church was having on the social contract. This perspicacious work, depicting two cameras—where one shines a flash on the problem, while the other—marked by the bishop and pawn (boy) does not. The camera device is the way we see, via the role of the artist.

Dalton has stated that the actual application of paint is the uncomplicated part, and that indeed some paintings “just fall off the end of the brush”. It is the pre-thinking that is more complex, and the part he delights in. In The Silhouette of Opulence, the Shadow of a Labyrinth, as always, Dalton is not light on style, nor substance.

Amber Creswell Bell
February, 2024

 

\ Exhibition featured works

Jonathan Dalton

A little splash

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

An old idea, no longer dangerous, in a fake gilded cage

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 60 x 55cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Copper teapot with bullet hole

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Ireland circa 1977

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 55 x 60cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

I’d rather drown

2024 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Long live the King, the Queen is dead

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 55 x 60cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Love and kisses Andy Warhol

2024 \ Oil on birch board \ 65 x 70cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Panacea and persuasion

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 60 x 55cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

Schrödinger’s wave function

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

The absence of a figure by a pool

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

The feather crested Warhol

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 60 x 55cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

The old man band

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

The tower of Blahbel

2023 \ Oil on birch board \ 60 x 55cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

The water dance

2024 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

Jonathan Dalton

This too shall pass

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 137 x 122cm

SOLD

\ Other exhibitions

ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT DREARY

Group Exhibition

13 July — 20 July 2024

Christopher Horder

THE FRUITS OF SPRING AND THE BATS OF NIGHT

2 July — 20 July 2024

Selma Coulthard

New paintings, Old stories

20 June — 29 June 2024

Contact Us

to find out more about MELBOURNE ART FAIR.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.30pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm Closed Public Holidays (and Easter Saturday)