The young woman is on the dancefloor — on her back in post-collapse. A gentleman kneels beside, gripping both her hands. The look on her face speaks of surprise and the news-fuel brain begins to list all potential cause — nightclub shooting? Overdose? Seizure? The title of the painting answers her truth, Braxton & Hicks, the pre-labor contractions of the uterus. The young woman is pregnant and went out for an evening of dancing. The paranoia and subtle menace of the painting belies its reality.
New York-based painter Jonathan Viner‘s paintings contain struggles that are overcome by saturated joy — moments seized in eternal dusk. In Coup d’Etat, Viner presents a gentleman dressed in pink and neon military garb, perhaps he’s the government that was overthrown or the over-thrower himself. Either way, Viner’s jefe may lead by violence but he will also look good while doing it — a Saturday Night Fever echo of self-love and vanity, Viner steers his work towards the ’70s in spirit and fashion with a dash of Cold War mania that permeated over decades of suburban life. The gaze of Viner’s characters is what filmmakers search for in their actors — those real-life moments of being lost in thought and within one’s own body. His figures brim with youth and glamour, characters captured in moments of everyday magic.