Jon Chester

I currently have two series developing simultaneously: Graffiti Abatement Color Field Paintings and a series of night landscapes. They are both based on observation and photography of the Hunters Point/Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco where I live. They are different ways of attempting to see this often violent and neglected neighborhood as beautiful.Graffiti Abatement Color Field PaintingGraffiti Abatement Color Field Painting is a series of paintings based on photographs of the compositions created through graffiti abatement measures in and around San Francisco. In 2006, I began to document these compositions in a series of photographs. In order to avoid fines, San Francisco property owners are constantly painting over the graffiti painted on their buildings during the night. Graffiti artists call this “the buff”. I approached the pieces straight as one would when documenting a work of art. I tried to honor the compositions created by the painters, yet by the act of framing the pieces I was engaged in an aesthetic process – I was collaborated in a way with the painters, who were reacting to the graffiti writers. It allowed me to see utilitarian, industrial neighborhoods as a fertile terrain for aesthetic possibility. I approach painting these pieces in a realist manner, yet during my practice I am often reminded of Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, Milton Avery and Giorgio Morandi. The tension between abstraction and documentation is at the heart of these paintings.Night LandscapesThe night landscape paintings are a series of representative oil paintings on panels of scenes of my neighborhood at night. They examine artificial light on architecture and it’s particular presence. They are an homage to american painters such as George Ault, Edward Hopper, George Tooker and Georgia O’Keefe. They are a contemporary perspective on American loneliness.



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