To mark its first anniversary, Matted LIC, a gallery and framing shop located at 46-36 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City, is celebrating in the same quirky style as its merchandise — with an exhibit of artwork by artist Jonathan Blum. The show, which runs until June 20, features Blum’s paintings, monoprints and paintings on top of monoprint collages.
Discussing her reason for exhibiting Blum’s work, Donna Drimer, owner of Matted LIC, said, “We really like his whimsical work. We felt it was a fun and very appropriate topic in the sense that we all need to laugh a little bit, smile at things around us.”
Besides holding art shows, Drimer has set up shop to provide a gamut of goods and services for the burgeoning art community in Long Island City. She sells artwork and does conservation and custom framing. The store also offers a variety of handmade jewelry, pottery, scarves and pocketbooks as well as home furnishings, carpeting and furniture.
“The store is very eclectic, which pretty much goes with the neighborhood because it’s a very growing neighborhood,” Drimer said. “It’s got some great people. We’ve been selling some really great work.”
Blum’s paintings fit in with the eclectic feeling at Matted LIC. With his own storefront space in Park Slope, Brooklyn, he considers himself foremost a portrait artist with a fanciful twist. He paints faces of people and animals with various objects on top of their heads, be it a fruit, vegetable or hat.
“Literally, what happened to me was I ended up having a show in New Orleans about 20 years ago,” Blum recalled. “I had a commission to do a family portrait with their favorite foods on their heads, and this is how it all started. I was trying to convince them not to do it. I did it once and I never looked back.”
Although his pieces can bring a smile to one’s face, there is also a more serious side to them. Reaching back to his Jewish heritage, Blum paints frames for Hebraic prayers, blessings and wedding contracts. Common subjects of his portraitures are rabbis — his best-selling paintings — which “walk that fine line between being respectful and playful.”
Talking about some Midwesterners who recently purchased his Judaica artwork, Blum said, “This family from Iowa just bought a big rabbi and they asked me if a rabbi is like a Jewish priest. It’s just so funny. It’s the same way we would go buy paintings in Mexico.”
The majority of Blum’s work being sold at Matted LIC are his monoprints, which bring a uniqueness to his paintings through the sheer process by which they are created. Using a press, Blum transfers paintings to paper with either glass or the imprint of a collage. The paintbrush never touches the paper.
“You get the originality of a painting and the line quality of a print. I only make one rubbing, so each print is different,” he said. “I like them because you never really know what you’re going to get.” If technique is any indication of any artist’s style, then Blum has truly found his match.
For more information about Jonathan Blum, his artwork and upcoming exhibits, you can visit his Web site at www.jonath
©2010 Community News Group
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