Drypnz. Drypnz. Drypnz.
Kennedy. Kennedy. Kennedy.
I have been thinking a lot about Jon’s work recently. I have been following his practice since he left university, becoming prolific from the studio, across the streets of Wellington, through the world and the internet. This is a special moment for me in that case, as I get to air some thoughts I have gathered on what I would deem, a significant artists work.
Jon and I began speaking about a project in the late stages of 2015. I had a garage and a car, which I was thinking about as this “radical”, transient and simultaneously static space. Like many things, as soon as you put the word Art or Gallery in front of it, it becomes much more interesting (maybe). It became a significant idea for me. An innovative use of an every day, but none the less alternative space to engage an audience in ideas, memories - art. An alternative space to disseminate work.
Ideas and words and things pour out of Jon’s mouth. He has more going on in his head than I can begin to understand. His work does much the same. It is dense on many levels, far more complex than the positive and negative of his recent works might suggest. An admirable quality of an artist maybe? It could be confused, or conflicted, or abstract?
I have thought for a long time now that art needs to be more than abstraction. It can’t just claim to have ideas invested or imbedded in it. It has to proclaim something, or do something. It needs to contribute to the world in a more meaningful way than just confusing people. People might love it or hate it, or they might just say it’s nice, but when art does not proclaim something, it remains ambiguous, abstract, camouflaged. I think I may have changed my mind though.
After seeing Jon’s exhibition XYZ, I sat outside and wondered whether maybe it was better for some work to remain ambiguous. To be abstract. Although it is almost never purely abstract. Someone has always made it with intention. With an idea or an agenda at the start. Whether they say I’m going to make a painting about nothing or something. Or whether they present an object that may or may not be art. It seems abstract, because it’s subjective, it’s personal. I think this is the case with Jon’s work. There is one thread in particular that I see run across Jon’s work. This thread, is an abstract and complex understanding of home. There are so many references to landscape, objects, memories, nostalgia, dreamy other-world spaces and real genuine sentimental attachment to shapes, symbols and objects.
I can’t help but wonder whether this is Jon. Whether these are portraits, or self portraits to some degree. These are the works of a wandering, transient artist, not desperately seeking, but maybe unpacking, what it is to have a sense of home. Residing in places, integrating, experiencing them, but also retaining perspective. Living in a world parallel to, but slightly separated from people like me. While I am fulfilling so many versions of ‘normal’, even as a ‘creative’, Jon is making, and thinking, and realising. Working through the ideas, words and things that fill his brain.
Jon’s work has managed to function in the same way as I see his person. Somehow running parallel to, but slightly separate from the mainstream art world. Reaffirming my thoughts on why Jon’s work was so appropriately presented at Precinct 35. It made sense, it both juxtaposed and aligned with this notion of home.
In a gesture of value Jon handed out objects that were either found, collected or made. A gesture was immersed in nostalgia, he hoarded and made objects of ‘not-value’, something that I might do. Hoarding gestures of love or friendship or memories in the form of gifts and objects. He gave me a treasure that I will keep for my home. Not because it is a Jon Drypnz. But because it was gifted to me. A sentimental exchange.
This exhibition of work resonated with me on a level that was deeply personal. Something that I forgot that art could do. I think this is more than an exhibition though. It is a small portion of a never finished body of work that attempts to unpack ideas surrounding home.*
Text from Robbie Whyte.
'XYZ' presented by 35B project space. 11 - 21 February 2016. 35 Ghuznee St. Te Aro 6011, Wellington New Zealand