Jim Jonson, American (1928 - 1999)

Jim Jonson
Jim Jonson is concerned with the kinetics of a sports event. He responds personally to the energy and the power generated by finely conditioned athletes, having been one himself. But above all he attempts to communicate the phenomenon of motion. He does not try to free these moments as a high-speed photograph would, but by skillfully employing the multiple image, Jonson dramatically enhances the narrative power of his paintings. You not only see where something is, but also where it was and the direction in which it's going.

In addition to the phenomenon of motion, Jonson is also concerned with the specific instant: the point in the action which most dramatically highlights the athlete extending himself almost beyond his limits. It could be the face of a long distance runner straining to reach the finish line, the arched back of a pole vaulter as he barely clears the bar, or the stretched legs and clawing hands of the high hurdler. For all their apparent spontaneity, which sometimes borders on the abstract, however, his paintings adhere to the classical tenets of drawing, composition, value, and color harmony.

Jonson's first illustration assignments were for magazines and advertising agencies in California where more and more art directors who were beginning to tire of the photographic realism then predominant responded to Jonson's painterly approach.

Since then he has moved to the East Coast and his work appears regularly in Sports Illustrated, Ski, Time-Life Books, and other nationally famous publications.

He has also exhibited in many museums including the National Art Museum of Sport Competition where he was recently a top award winner.

  • SB. Parsons, Los Angeles
  • Cushing Gallery, Dallas
  • Madison Park Gallery, New York City
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, New York City
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, Chicago
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Los Angeles County Art Museum
  • Oklahoma Art Center
  • Frye Museum (Seattle)
  • Orange County Museum
  • University of Arizona
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