Kindling, a solo exhibition of new works by James Jean. For his first show at the gallery at Jonathan LeVine Gallery Jean has created a collection of original large-scale mixed media paintings and drawings on canvas, linen, and paper. Kindling will be Jean’s debut solo fine art exhibition, marking a highly anticipated event for this remarkably accomplished and acclaimed young artist.
Jean’s imaginative compositions feature ethereal figures; fluid in motion, and graceful in gesture. His fantasy dreamscapes capture compelling moments, often represented beyond the laws of gravity, on an undefined plane. Incorporating traditional symbolism and dynamic narratives, Kindling introduces finely rendered imagery created with Jean’s unique aesthetic, extraordinarily kinetic style and sophisticated color palette. The subjects, as the artist explains, glide through the tableaux, tracing a narrative of thwarted desires. His subtle yet suggestive themes of metamorphosis, mortality, and sexuality blend together seamlessly, bridging the gap between the real and imagined. Jean uses exquisitely contoured line work to form the spatial relationships between his paint and canvas, resulting in a harmonious balance which can—at times—be experienced as if set to music. Several of his large-scale paintings are divided into multiple panels, echoing motifs from Chinese silk scroll paintings and Japanese wood block prints; two traditions which are sources of inspiration for the works in this show.
Considering his background in the commercial arts, Jean’s genre defying style has raised the bar for a generation of young illustrators, having achieved steady success among elite clientele in the fashion, advertising and editorial industries. Winner of numerous prestigious awards, Jean has arrived at a point in his career, deciding to step away from commercial projects and focus his creative energy on fine art. He now spends his time painting for gallery and museum shows, as well as continuing to publish books on his constantly evolving process and technique.
Born in 1979 in Taiwan, and raised in New Jersey, James Jean was educated at the School of Visual Arts in New York and moved to Los Angeles in 2003, where he currently lives and works. In a ceaseless torrent of images, his finely wrought and narrative-driven work has captured the attention of a worldwide audience including the admiration of other artists, designers, and filmmakers. Renowned for his draftsmanship and imagination, Jean’s work has been featured in print, fabric, large-scale installations, and animation. His influences include various sources such as Japanese Woodblock prints, Northern Renaissance paintings and etchings, Chinese scroll paintings, Shanghai advertising posters, comics, anatomical charts, and vintage printed ephemera, Jean’s images evoke a sense of fantasy and the subconscious, seductive in their delicacy and sensuality