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 Jon Wassom

“My painting style, in simple terms, is Abstract Realism…The two opposing genres, existing in one painting, represent where dreams and reality collide…that beautiful space where creation happens, just beyond the physical realm”

Jon Wassom

From: Utah | Medium: Mixed Media

Jon Wassom is a multi-facetted artist: movement, music and painting. A figure skater, gymnast, diver and instrumentalist, movement and musicality play a prominent and obvious role in Jon’s beautiful, interpretive compositions of people in contemporary environments.

Utah native Jon traces his love of creation to His high school art teacher, Zan Burningham, who mentored him; her passion proved contagious and Jon went on to gain several high school awards and, eventually, an art scholarship to Utah State University.

Jon’s five-year college art education proved priceless. The numerous life figure drawing and painting classes complement his natural talent. Essentially a colorist, His complex mind perceives form on several planes and he has the rare talent of being able to transfer his mental concepts onto canvas without reference images. His art evidences his mastery of color theory, additive and subtractive juxtapositions, and freedom of exploration in expressions of the human form. He gratefully acknowledges the influence of his Yale graduate professor, Woody Shepherd.

Jon Wassom’s experience with athletic and artistic movement and consequent knowledge of human anatomy are strong influences that translate into the majestic, even spiritual human expression he captures with sensitivity and grace.

Jon resides in Arizona with his husband, Felipe. He sells nationally and internationally, and The Marshall Gallery is pleased to welcome him as a major contemporary talent.


Artist Statement

“My painting style, in simple terms, is Abstract Realism…The two opposing genres, existing in one painting, represent where dreams and reality collide…that beautiful space where creation happens, just beyond the physical realm. My textures symbolize the desire to touch the world, making an imprint on it…a modern-day hieroglyph per se. My representational work is more-so about the painting process itself. When my work is viewed up close, it is meant to be experienced as a shallow abstract color sculpture. The process of how the painting was made is meant to be questioned. I invite the viewer into the love affair I have with paint and texture. When the work is viewed at a distance, the realism forms…symbolic of taking a step back from things in life to get a clear view of reality. I cycle through different subject matter, coming back to similar themes often with a new view and approach every time… The people I paint are silhouettes or spiritually influenced beings. They are etched into this idea of making a mark on the world. They often represent how the past influences who we become in the present moment. They are somewhat transparent illusions of individuality, actually being connected to a bigger picture. Human potential. A window of what could be.

My nature work grounds me…Especially birds. They are messengers to me. Many people ask me about the hummingbird specifically. My personal experience with the hummingbird was a profound one. I was in a place of suffering years ago. I was alone and sitting in a park. I prayed out to the universe for help, and a hummingbird flew down right in front of my face, looking straight at me. It hovered nice and still for a time. In that moment I knew i wasn’t alone….and it taught me that in order to be still, I have to take vigorous healthy actions in my life. I also enjoy the challenge of pure abstraction. Abandoning representational work altogether. Honing my abstract skills within the dream world. Creating, connecting, and balancing color or textural formations, which is often times more difficult than realism in many different ways. While painting, I question the nature of reality often, and the meaning of human existence…reflecting on the world being a mirage of something much deeper. It is much more spiritual in a sense – the innate human need for connection, and belonging to something greater than ourselves. I am passionate about sharing my process with curious viewers. I choose to be vulnerable and authentic with my work. Abandoning this idea that there is a monopoly on creative secrets. Creation is infinite and should be shared unselfishly. My goal is also to represent the human psyche in a kaleidoscope of color. Keeping in mind the deeper the shadows of life become, the brighter the light is on the other side. Which is why I typically end with the light tones of paint, sitting on the surface, representing hope. The process of creating art is what interests me – to enjoy the journey, with the destination as a goal. I’m not necessarily interested in what is made, but how it’s made.”

Michael Lotenero

Collection & Exhibits

  • Male Reconstructed” Solo Show, University of Arizona, Curated By The U of A Museum in Tucson, Phoenix AZ 2017
  • Male Reconstructed” Solo Show, Melrose Collective, Phoenix AZ 2017
  • “Heaven and Earth” Solo Show, {9} The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2017
  • Sold work during Art Basel, X Contemporary Gallery, Miami FL 2016
  • Artlink’s 18th Annual Juried Exhibition”, Piece was acquired by Baron Properties, The Heard Museum, Phoenix AZ 2016
  • Manscape” Pop-up Show{9} The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2016
  • Shapes of Humanity” Solo Show, {9} The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2016
  • “Palettes of the World” Solo Show, The MonOrchid Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2015
  • “Strata” Solo Show, {9) The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2014
  • “7 Deadly Sins” {9) The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2014
  • “Immaculate” {9) The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2013
  • “Scottsdale Biennale” First Honor, Wee Gallery Fine Art, Scottsdale AZ 2012
  • “Balls of Steel” Group Show, {9) The Gallery, Phoenix AZ 2012
  • “Removed and Recycled” Solo Show, Touchstone Gallery, Washington D.C. 2007
  • “My Space on 7th” Best in Show (peoples choice award) Touchstone Gallery, 2007
  •  “9th Annual All-Media Exhibition” Touchstone Gallery, Washington D.C. 2006