Jonathan Apgar describes his practice as a series of moves; he explains that he is constantly responding to changes—he makes a mark, reviews, and then makes another mark. This process lends itself well to the myriad of contradictions and the push and pull of space that Apgar achieves in his paintings. Though impeccably flat—created by building up thin and overlapping layers of paint—the pieces somehow convey the illusion of immense depth. And while at first seemingly pictorial, imagery quickly dissipates into abstraction upon further examination. This consistent play between flatness and depth, foreground and background, reality and abstraction, makes it impossible to actually locate either, but the process of looking is throughly engaging. Apgar describes how he seeks to create portal passage elements that bring a viewer forward and then backward, pulling one’s experience into the painting only to kick it back out. And while a viewer might at first access the paintings using more formal observations, attracted to the rich colors and unusual forms, Apgar does not consider his paintings from a formal perspective. Rather, his goal is to create something a viewer can relate to in an emotional way. The complexity and dynamism is all about the experience of experience.
Apgar is a painter through and through. When I ask him if he ever ventures outside the realm of painting he emphatically says no. Indeed, he doesn’t seem terribly interested in other mediums or methods. Satisfied with finding new challenges for himself within the realm of painting, Apgar says that he’s not trying to re-invent anything. In fact, he describes how he enjoys limiting himself to the parameters of the canvas—making something interesting, says Apgar, seems much more engrossing than making some new original art form. By all accounts and purposes, Apgar is certainly successful at making something interesting. Not easily taken in quickly, Apgar’s paintings compel a close look that a viewer is happy to oblige. Getting lost in the forms, colors and dimensions leads to contradictions, ambiguities and intricacies that require work to resolve. The reward is well worth the effort and when given the opportunity one should certainly make the effort to see Apgar’s works in person.