NEWS: July 23, 2017
EXHIBITION: 103 Gallery, Guangzhou, China | March 10, 2017
VISIBLE MEDITATION: An Exhibition in Three Parts
March 19 - April 22
NEWS and REVIEW | June 17, 2016
ART RESIDENCY: Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, China; July 2016
REVIEW: About Fashion Magazine [Blog]; May, 2016
Jon Poblador, Philippines born, American contemporary artist is best known for his quiet, monochromatic art work. Focusing on conceptual pieces, which initially consisted of tightly packed lines of text. He later explored repetition through his use of dots. Poblador’s work, unlike that of other Minimalist artists, is characterized by single colors in various panels on a small scale. Applying thin layers of acrylic paint to his canvas creates a shimmery effect, in which the colors are added in a series of vertical and horizontal lines that can be seen beneath the surface of the work. Inspired by his culture and buddism religion his art breathes the serenity and peace.
NEWS and PUBLICATION | October 3, 2015
I left the United States in July 2014 to live and teach art in China and I finally established a studio space a few months ago. I am now able to focus most of my non-teaching time to making art. So, after a two-year hiatus, here is an introduction to more recent work.
NEWS: Two of my paintings have been included in the book, "Painters of Grand Tetons National Park" by Donna and Jams Poulton. Available here: www.amazon.com/Painters-Grand-Tetons-Na?
[REVIEW] Huffington Post | April 27, 2012
Haiku Reviews by Frank, P.
Jon Poblador practices a highly refined minimalist painting, sticking to single colors in his various panels and - unlike many monochrome (or, as they're called in Europe, "radical") painters - working on a small scale, as often page size as easel size. Poblador achieves his unusually limpid tones by slowly painting thin but deeply pigmented acrylic, up to thirty layers on a raw canvas. This allows a translucency, even a pellucidity, to permeate the color, which becomes more a veil than a barrier. In many of the paintings the color is scored with vertical or horizontal lines. Poblador did not tape these off but demarcated them and, in his painstaking fashion, painted up to but not over them, leaving them as "cuts" in his darkly shimmering surfaces. It takes some of the same patience and concentration to appreciate Poblador's achievement, that is, to see it rather than just know about it. Mark Rothko said that the ideal distance from which to view his paintings is 10 inches, and that may be doubly true for Poblador's - except you'd feel as if your breath might blow away the color.
[REVIEW] The Philadelphia Inquirer | March 11, 2012
WEST MEETS EAST by Newhall, E.
Since moving from Philadelphia to Phoenix, Jon Poblador seems to have been influenced by the colors of his new environment.
His mainly monochromatic paintings, currently on view in "Jon Poblador: Living Mountain" at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, now investigate subtler hues, among them a deep barn red, a burnt sienna-infused brown, and various blues and grays. As in his earlier works, his dense, matte acrylic surfaces manage to appear much softer than their medium normally allows.
Poblador's recent paintings continue his habit of building what looks like an etched line (or lines) in a work, but is actually plain linen left bare between painted sections. In some of his paintings, such as At Sunset and Jalan Rumia, those "lines" seem to glow from within. In others, he has left grids of "lines" that suggest tiled walls.
These are quiet, contemplative paintings that strike me as stops on a walk through a Southwestern landscape.
[REVIEW] inliquid.com | March 7, 2007
Philadelphia Introductions by Kirsh, A.
Of all the challenges a painter can set himself, the most difficult is surely the monochrome. Is there anyplace left to take the form ninety years after Malevich? After Reinhardt, Klein, Rauschenberg, Martin, Marden, and Ryman? Jon Poblador has risen to the challenge and produced a remarkable and compelling group of monochromes that speak their own language, with a distinctive voice.
Why would a painter choose a genre that is marked by such renunciation? No incident and neither formal nor color contrasts. In Poblador’s case he arrived there through process. His initial painting was figurative, always highly symmetrical and within a narrow chromatic range. He was inspired by Northern Renaissance painting and Neo-Classicism, although he acknowledges the perhaps surprising interest in Bouguereau, whose technical abilities Poblador admires. Alongside his development as a painter was Poblador’s ongoing investigation of religion and spirituality, and his understanding that these were longstanding subjects for art and one of the initial impulses behind abstraction.
Poblador began to make conceptual drawings even as he was producing figurative paintings. They initially consisted of text, in fine lettering and tightly-packed lines that created a dark block on the paper. He used the Bible as a form of found text. Poblador enjoyed the repetitive process of transcription; he found it meditative. Then he became concerned that the text itself was a distraction so he switched to a similarly-repetitive use of dots in evenly-spaced lines that created the same block as the text had in the earlier drawings. The challenge was to maintain a consistency of touch across each sheet of paper.
At this point Poblador’s paintings had become abstract, mirroring the abstraction of the dot drawings. The initial layer of paint was applied with rough, allover texture and the upper layers were monochrome. He was interested in repetition as a form of meditation and in neutrality, which assumed a spiritual dimension for Poblador. He wants his paintings to move viewers into a spiritual realm; he said he would like them to produce ecstatic emotion. This echoes Edmund Burke’s ideas of the relationship of the sublime to beauty which formed one philosophical underpinning of Romanticism. Poblador did not mention Burke, and his paintings do not sit easily within the Romantic tradition, even Robert Rosenblum’s extension of that tradition to include Abstract Expressionism (Rosenblum posited a Northern Romantic tradition that went from Friedrich and Turner through Munch, Van Gogh, and Mondrian to Gottlieb, Newman, Pollock, and Rothko). His emphasis on repetition and neutrality as spiritual vehicles is much more akin to Eastern traditions, particularly that of Buddhism, although repetition is certainly integral to all Western ideas of prayer as well.
Poblador worked with acrylic paint, which dried quickly, and found himself adding more and more layers to achieve the colors he wanted, then found that he became interested in this building-up of the paint. He made up his own rules. The cardinal one was that the paintings were entirely a product of the brushwork; he would use no tape or other means to mask or define the edges, nor would he scrape through paint to form dividing lines. In their simplest form the paintings are small squares (usually 12 inches), with blocks of color that do not extend to the canvas edges, but stop some quarter inch away. The unpainted border is covered with several layers of clear, acrylic gel medium and the exposed tacking margins, as they wrap around the stretcher at the sides, have been left as dark, bare linen. They are precisely and beautifully fashioned. The initial layer of paint is now smooth and the painted area uninflected, except for occasional, faint traces of brushwork and random bumps which stem from irregularities in the linen which are magnified by the many layers of paint.
Other paintings are rectangular, 20 by 16 inches, and divided into bands or blocks of still-monochrome color, with the occasional exception where one of the bands is the natural linen seen through clear gel but otherwise unpainted. His choice of colors is personal, and not obvious. Some are clear, others muted: white, black, soft and slightly-greyed blues, sunflower-yellow, an intense orange, a golden mustard. With these works the paint extends to the edges of the canvas’s face. And it is here that one becomes particularly conscious of the edges of the paint; not the edges of the paintings, but of the paint itself. Paint is no longer a vehicle; it has become a substance with a visible depth and edges which are a record of its manufacture. Poblador’s exquisite craftsmanship of multiple layering (as many as fifty) produces exterior edges that sometimes have a deckle. The interior edges of the bands or blocks are so tightly controlled that they form lines which define and divide the forms. Poblador “draws” with this negative space, the absence of paint between adjacent forms.
A painting such as Compound (20 x 16 inches, 2007) has two sets of lines of differing weight: a primary grid which divides the surface into sixteen equal parts, then a secondary set of finer lines that bisect the rows horizontally. This grid is unusual, as most of the compositions are simpler, with the canvas divided into a few, large areas. Their balance and distribution varies from one painting to another, but the compositions are always bi-laterally symmetrical.
During the last year he produced a suite of nine paintings, 36 x 24 inches, all in the same color of pale lemonade (someone suggested he call it “lunar white”). Rather than linen he used a cream-colored cotton which has a smoother surface without the weave imperfections which resulted in surface bumps. One painting is as simple as two horizontal lines dividing the rectangle into equal thirds, while another has three stacked rows with vertical divisions so narrow they look like slats. In two of the paintings he has left areas unpainted but covered in gel, and in several he has used dividing lines of differing weights. Hung together they force a comparison: how can one section a rectangle and what is the impact of more or fewer divisions? Are the paintings divisible by threes more dynamic than those divisible only by a factor of two? At what size do the divisions no longer read as boundaries, but become the focus of interest, a grid that floats over the ground? Because all of Poblador’s edges are created by repeated handwork rather than tape or a straightedge, they waver ever so slightly. All the lines are organic. These signs of the hand within such rectilinear and intellectualized forms call attention to their facture, and give the paintings great emotional density. They demand long and close looking. And they repay it. These products of Poblador’s precise, controlled, spiritually-repetitive process are his gifts to his viewers.
[REVIEW] The Philadelphia Inquirer | February 23, 2007
LOOKING DEEP by Newhall, E.
The minimal, monochromatic paintings of Jon Poblador, who is having his third one-person show at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, are not necessarily what one initially sees. Born of a meditative, repetitive process, each of his works comprises as many as 50 layers of paint.
The lines in his paintings that look as though they were fastidiously laid out with masking tape and then incised are actually the edges of a rectangle where Poblador stops his brush. In other words, they appear to be incised lines because of the depth of those successive layers of paint.
Last but not least, his paintings seem to accentuate, even celebrate, those little nubs that occur naturally in linen (most true minimalists would paint on a gessoed canvas surface sanded to perfection).
Poblador employs color to sublime effect. Whether a painting uses unadulterated cadmium orange or on of Poblador’s own concoctions – say, a robin’s egg blue that probably has undergone myriad additions and subtractions of hues before achieving its quintessence – it will undoubtedly stir memories of a place, thing or time. But, as in Agnes Martin’s work, there’s a mystical component to Poblador’s paintings that lifts them out of easy familiarity.
[REVIEW] The Philadelphia Inquirer | March 10, 2006
ILLUMINATING by Newhall, E.
“Some Light (Version One),” at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, marks the first in a series of group exhibitions that this gallery intends to mount focusing on the illuminating or reflective qualities of artworks.
“Version One” gathers paintings by eight artists who use, as the gallery puts it, “subtle variations on some traditional pigment formulas and supports.” The various means they employ create the impression of light is one of the more interesting aspects of this exhibition, because all the artists are abstract painters in an ostensibly minimalist vein, but they also share an obvious reverence for their process and materials.
Light appears to radiate from within Marcia Hafif’s and Joseph Marioni’s layers of color, for instance, while Jon Poblador’s flat, pastel-colored acrylic paintings in nubbly linen suggest a modernist building’s sun-drenched walls. John Zurier’s light emanates from the thin, brushy middle of his paintings in a way that evokes a clearing in the woods; Joe Begonia’s two small paintings seem to reference the effects of light on the ocean.
Much as I admired the contributions from Barry Goldberg, Steve Reidell, and Merrill Wagner, their paintings seemed more the result of the way they choose to work than of any concerted effort to conjure light. But they did keep me guessing.