Jonathan Matas | Solo Show: A Compendium of Moments

Heron Arts is pleased to announce the first solo show by alum Jonathan Matas (BFA, 2006). The exhibition A Compendium of Moments: Tales from The Ground Floor, will be on view at Heron Arts until August 10th, 2019. The exhibition will take a look at the artist’s live portrait painting practice. The show opens on Saturday, July 20th, 2019 at 7pm and is free and open to the public.

Portrait painting dates back thousands of years, initially as a way of recording history. Throughout time, artists have used this method of capturing their subjects as a mechanism to tell stories, relay information, or describe experiences. In the first solo show by Jonathan Matas, the artist delves into the practice of portraits painted from life as a means of articulating experience, feeling, and a way of being for the artist. With no premeditated goals or preparation, each painting is produced spontaneously, with the model just as active in the experience as Matas. Each subject helps tell the story of the experience shared by artist and subject, touching on the constant themes of Matas’s work: spontaneity, playfulness, and celebration of the ordinary.

The viewer can expect to see a series of oil portrait paintings as well as works on paper and a small installation. Each painting has been done with models sitting live for at least 3-4 hours a day, over the course of 4-5 days. The artist meticulously captures his subjects with no plan or direction. Matas is at the will of the paint brush and the energy created between the model and the setting. He does not adhere to a particular style but lets the free form dictate the direction. The installation will be comprised of a mix of odd found objects collected throughout the artist’s travels.

Jonathan Matas was born in Seattle in 1984. Matas has been devoted to painting from his earliest childhood days growing up in 90’s grunge-era Seattle. Fortunate to be immersed in an eclectic creative world, he spent his entire youth drawing and painting with watercolors, acrylics and oils, eventually expanding his mark-making vocabulary through the medium of graffiti. Matas went on to receive a formal degree in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University in Vancouver. Since then, he’s lived essentially as a nomad, moving throughout the United States and jumping across several continents, leaving a trail of murals and paintings along the way. Over the years, he has spent time anchored in New York and participated in numerous group shows, including at Exit Art. Later in San Francisco (2011-14), he conjured up a number of murals, making a mark as one of Facebook’s first artists-in-residence. Though Matas continues to follow art wherever it takes him (most recently London, Singapore, Tokyo, and Taiwan), he now lives primarily in a village in the North Indian Himalayas. In 2018, Matas spent several months in Nepal working as a production designer and painter on Khyentse Norbu’s upcoming feature film “Looking For a Lady With Fangs and a Moustache.”

Heron Arts was founded in 2013 by Mark Slee, an active member of San Francisco’s creative community, organizing events since the mid-2000s. Prior to Heron Arts, Slee was a member of Facebook’s product design and development team. He is joined by director Tova Lobatz, pursuing ambitious programming that encompasses eclectic installations alongside traditional gallery exhibitions.