Jonathan Lasker since the 1980s in light of the increasingly conceptual turn in art has engaged with the possibilities of painting, developing the abstract formal idiom that has come to characterise his oeuvre. Resisting movements such as Lyrical Abstraction, Field Painting, or Minimalism of the 1970s, right from the beginning of his career, Lasker found himself confronted with the problem of pictorial invention and subsequently devised a self-referential system using a vocabulary of sign-like shapes and colours which the artist in his paintings draws upon, repeats, and reformulates. The formal language of the paintings is abstract and the visual means range from simple line drawings to thick paste-like applications of paint. Often a figurative form is superimposed onto a background consisting of abstract patterns. Lasker’s compositions thus challenge the traditional perception of the relationship between fore- and background; between figure, ground, and line. As of 1986, Lasker began to draft his compositions in small formats and with great attention to detail, to then subsequently reproduce them with great precision in his large scale paintings. Thus, the organic, subjective and gestural pictorial idiom of the artist’s earlier works has been replaced by an increasingly intellectual process in which the artist maintains control and diminishes the element of chance.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1948, Jonathan Lasker studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City between 1975 and 1977 and at the California Institute of the Arts in 1977. Notable solo exhibitions include shows at MAMAC Musée d'art moderne et contemporain Saint-Étienne (2015), Kunstsammlung NRW/K20 in Düsseldorf and Reina Sofia in Madrid (2003), the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (1997-98), and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1998). Selected group exhibitions include the Neue Galerie, Kassel (2011/12), Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2009), Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxemburg (2008), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2007), La Caixa Foundation, Barcelona (2002), Musée d’Art Moderne, St. Étienne, France (1997), The Hayward Gallery, London (1994), Documenta 9 in Kassel (1992), MoMA P.S.1., New York City (1992). Jonathan Lasker lives and works in New York City.