Jon Burgerman (b. 1979 UK) is a New York-based British artist whose works have been acquired by prestigious public collections such as London's Victoria and Albert Museum and the OÖ-Kultur museum in Linz, Austria. His art has been described as “bright, and intuitive, focused on the visceral energy of play as a tenet of communication” (Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, July 2021). In recent years he has exhibited at WOAW Gallery (Hong Kong), Chengdu Times Art Museum (China), MISA Art fair Berlin and Cologne, Ojiri Gallery (London), L21 Gallery (Spain), Dopeness Art Lab (Taipei) and Jane Lombard Gallery (New York).
Burgerman’s highly distinctive fuzzy-edged characters epitomise the paradoxes of contemporary life. Their seemingly simple googly eyes betray a range of emotional complexities and anxieties, with comically distressed expressions and collapsing forms underlined by titles such as Xanax, Dualist, Lexapro and Chameleon (2022).
Expressing creativity and having fun is key to Burgerman’s practice. It's his belief that simple creative acts can allow people to change not only their world but the world around them.
Burgerman's artistic influences include early 20th century animation, Abstract Expressionism, the CoBrA movement, Art Brut and Pop Art. He encourages the viewer to look at the world in new and unexpected ways. It's his belief that simple creative acts can allow people to change not only their world but the world around them.
I create playful and humorous paintings and objects that cloak a collective anxiety about the turbulent world we live in.
Soft friendly shapes and bold colours interplay to create compositions that display an aesthetic joy but belie conflicting emotions beneath the surface. Vivid expressions of abstracted cartoon forms are utilised as key components of the compositions; the amorphous genderless masses are stacked, piled, squashed and delicately balanced, often moments away from potential collapse or complete evaporation.
The use of aerosol paint allows for fluid and spontaneous creation, allowing for a loose, improvisational quality to the pieces.
The paintings are often in conflict with themselves; at once tough and soft, friendly and scary, happy and sad. The characters in the works have cubistic personalities, with their various emotional states shared on a single plain. These relate to a generational mental health crisis, exasperated by climate anxiety, the pandemic, the narrowing of political choice and financial insecurity.
Despite the fraught intensions, the light and colourful nature of the works offer a positive wider outlook and that there is always the chance for hope and joy, or at least, that's how I ultimately feel when making the works.