Jonas Gerard (1941-2021)
Jonas Gerard was a self-taught painter. He was born on the
African continent in Casablanca, Morocco, to Jewish
parents of French and Brazilian ancestry. Throughout his
travels, he has maintained a strong connection to the
essence of his birthplace.
He began his artistic career on the streets of New York
City and spent many decades in the Miami area. He has two
5,000-sq/ft studio/galleries in the Asheville, NC River Arts District.
Jonas was a self-styled spontaneous abstract expressionist
painter and the rhythmic influence of music is an important
part of his artistic process. Many of his paintings were
created listening to the loud, vibrant Afro-Cuban rhythms
he grew to love in Miami. The Moroccan tribal music of his
childhood and the propulsive jazz of his early Greenwich
Village days, mixed with French café music and Brazilian
sambas can also be heard coming from his studio late into
The music allowed him to work unpredictably and intuitively,
kicking it into another mode and bringing it home to a
subconscious space where he can respond to the rhythm,
and the direction the paintings suggest to him.
That direction is filled with light. Visitors to both his
galleries constantly remark about the profusion of light,
color and warmth greeting them as soon as they walk
through the front door. Jonas’ use of high-quality acrylic
paints guided by the rhythms of his ancestral music has
created a very large, vibrant body of work that speaks
directly to the creative light in all of us.
Gerard is my favorite artist, and he served as a mentor to
me when I lived in Asheville. I first discovered his work
back in 2008 when my therapist recommended I check out
his gallery to lift my spirits, as I was suffering from serious
depression at the time. I took her advice, and spent a
couple of hours at his gallery/studio in the River Arts
District. My mood was transformed, and I had a sudden
desire to paint. I became a Jonas junkie, going to all of his
art openings and his live painting performances. I
devoured his videos and studied his style and approach to
His paintings are full of vibrance and positive energy.
While he is very adept at painting representational art, it is
his abstracts that I fell in love with.
Jonas is also responsible for getting me hooked on Golden
brand heavy body paint, as he gave me over 40 jars of it
back in 2008 after my Dad died.
My style closely resembles Jonas', and my work serves as
an homage to him.
For a great introduction to his work, watch the video
"Letting Go". Another favorite video is Jonas at the
Montauk Fine Arts Festival May 24-26, 2008 (The
To see Jonas' work, go to jonasgerard.com.
This painting started out as an abstract. One Saturday night he invited me to his studio to watch him transform it into this village scene. He said, "It all starts with the windows." It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Dana Shutz (1976 - )
Dana Schutz is an American artist who lives and
works in Brooklyn, New York. She is best known
for her humorous, gestural paintings that take
on specific subjects or narrative situations as a
point of departure. Her work has been
exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Dana Schutz grew up in Livonia, Michigan, a
suburb of Detroit, and graduated in 1995 from
Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In 1999, while
pursuing her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of
Art, Schutz ventured abroad to attend the
Norwich School of Art and Design in Norwich,
England. That same year, she participated in
Maine’s Skowhegan School of Painting and
Sculpture residency program, and in 2000
completed her BFA upon her return to Cleveland.
In 2002, Schutz received her MFA from Columbia
University in the city of New York.
I saw Dana's work at an exhibition at the
Corcoran in D.C. in 2005 and I was enthralled.
To see more of Dana's work, visit this website.
I love Ray Tambunan's work. I discovered him on deviantART, an online art community. I would describe his work as "figurative abstract". To see more of his work, go here.