His mother, an artist herself, introduced him to oil paints at the impossibly early age of six and he has painted ever since.
His early influences were the Fauvists, Impressionists, Russian Avant Garde, Modernists, Abstract Expressionists, Portrait painters, Sculptors, and the Classical Masters – Jonathan has never been limited in his appreciation of art in all of its manifestations and forms, and in his one man show – almost a retrospective of his work in Taos over the past thirty years – all of these influences converge, evolve and transform into work that is uniquely his own.
I met Jonathan at the Fechin Museum one morning this week and seeing the work for the second time, juxtaposed against Nicolai Fechin’s masterfully carved doors and furnishings, in what is arguably the most beautiful, historical structure in Taos, I was intrigued by how the classical tone of the artist’s early work – the portrait of his wife Leah is an example – has evolved into a myriad of forms almost like looking through a kaleidoscope.
Jonathan’s visual interpretations of what and how he sees are in fact, in perfect time with a world that changes as quickly as the blink of an eye. Fechin’s own work danced through several genre’s and movements also; Modernist, Classical Russian and later, the pure forms of Native Art.
Jonathan had never heard of Nicolai Fechin until he attended a seminar on Portraiture by John Howard Sandens in NYC in 1980.
“On his library shelf was a book about Fechin, opening it I discovered a treasure chest.”
He was struck not only by the Russian artist’s exquisite craftsmanship but also by his “loose, emotional approach that merged seamlessly with classical mastery.”
“If there is a line running through my painting in the past thirty years, here in Taos, it’s the attempt to find that balance in my own work,” he explains.
Jonathan has also been a digital painter for the last fourteen years, making work on his computer and lately, his series of “Grotesques” on his iPad.
Unrestricted by genre, he clearly enjoys the challenge of exploring all facets of visual art, and has successfully merged them all into a career spanning almost fourty years.
He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, and in June was juried into the mDAC (mobile digital arts and creativity) show at the Palo Alto Art Center in an international competition for the top 100 digital artists. His work “Copper, Glass and Paint” was awarded second place.
In Taos, Jonathan Sobol is represented by Wilder Nightingale Fine Art, but do visit the artist’s website for more information and many more images of his unique and extraordinary work.
All images care of Jonathan Sobol