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 biomorphic or gestural form is superimposed onto a background consisting of abstract patterns. Lasker¹s compositions challenge the traditional perception of the relationship between fore- and background; between figure, ground, and line. As of 1986, in a reversal of "Action Painting" as the prevailing mode of abstract painting, Lasker began to draft his compositions in small formats and with great attention to detail, to then closely reenact them in his large scale paintings. This process has enabled him to better compose the resultant "picture", which is the aim of his work rather than the existential "act of painting." It corresponds to Lasker's intent to make abstract images with pictorial references, which encourage the viewer to understand how a picture is formed in his or her mind.
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 d¹Art Moderne, Luxemburg (2008), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2007), La Caixa Foundation, Barcelona (2002), Musée d¹Art 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.