Brief-description: Reflects a journey paved with success, failure, and reinvention. Opens Aug. 12 through Jan. 17.
Event url: www.burchfieldpenney.org
About: The artistry of Niagara Falls, NY-based artist Jonathan Rogers reveals a complex and sometimes thorny life. His art ranges from tormented dancing children with representations of storybook life in the background, to a seemingly biblical worship of a protective god. Exhibition of how he creatively finds balance navigating the world through art.
His work is off-putting to those who shun religion, a beacon to those that feel he speaks to their spiritual sense of the world. Motivated by a personal experience of faith as touchstone, and a cultish practice of religion as a demon, he ascends to make sense of the world through his work which only adds to the question of where he is landing.
Rogers is, in many ways, the most traditional of artists. “I am supposed to be an artist,” he once said. “I draw and paint and dress the part without trying very hard, comes naturally. My lifetime obsession is pursuing “nothing definite”. At last, finally, I have come up with a way of defining it.”
Born in Toronto, Ontario, his lengthy artistic career began by working as an apprentice printer in 1954. In 1956-59 he attended the Ontario College of Art & Design. Rogers has taught courses on drawing at Newton Abbot College of Art, Devonshire England and School of Design, Sheridan University, Ontario, Canada.
He has been celebrated and recognized as an internationally awarded animator. If you were a child in the late 1970s, the animated special “Witch’s Night Out’, that starred the voices of the late Gilda Radner and Catherine O’Hara might look familiar. Rogers created this nationally acclaimed film starring ‘Winifred the Witch.'
Jonathan’s life has followed a rocky path, instructor to illustrator then animator to vagrant. A spiritual lecturer dismayed by the reality behind the curtain of the American mega-church, his artwork looks back at a life filled with success, failure, and reinvention. These are all grand statements, but at the core of his work is the way we all assess and re-assess our experiences.