Jonathan Rajewski: Ordinary Spheres

May 22nd - July 18th, 2020

Nina Johnson is proud to present Ordinary Spheres, an exhibition of recent work by Jonathan Rajewski, on view by appointment from May 22nd through July 18th. Ordinary Spheres consists of hundreds of variously sized spheres arranged on the gallery floor in a grid, like a well-organized solar system. Each object acts as a condensation of a particular moment in space and time—a self-contained diary entry made of debris. Materials such as dog hair, beeswax, assorted fibers, beach sand, cigarette butts, dirt, socks, utility bills, and eggshells encapsulate Rajewski’s interaction with space. He collects the detritus and forms the orbs by hand as a daily practice, some days creating only one, other days making as many as twenty. In March, Rajewski lost access to his school studio and most of his work in Connecticut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After returning home to Detroit, he began making new work with the materials he had access to, continuing his process of sphering and working over old paintings with what was around. Inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s chapter “The Phenomenology of Roundness” in his 1958 text The Poetics of Space, van Gogh’s statement that “life is probably round,” and an Old World dung beetle that uses the Milky Way to navigate at night, Ordinary Spheres explores the fundamental properties of things but mundane and cosmic. The spheres are both a representation of universality and self-referential specificity; each one exists as an index of the room in which it was made. Rejecting linear timelines, each sphere places a dot on the expanding spacetime of Rajewski’s particular existence. Collectively, they create a portrait of his thoughts, interactions, movements, and environments.

About Jonathan Rajewski

Jonathan Rajewski (b. 1986, Bismarck, ND) is an artist and writer living and working in Hamtramck, MI. He received a BA in Philosophy from Michigan State University in 2009 and is a 2021 MFA Candidate in Painting at the Yale School of Art. He has exhibited at Nina Johnson Gallery, Miami, FL; Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY; Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, NY; Reyes Finn Gallery, Detroit, MI; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. His writing has appeared in Mousse Magazine, The Exhibitionist (MIT Press), and Essay’d (Wayne State Press).

  • Ordinary Spheres, installation view
  • Flaccid Geometry, 2019, acrylic, oil, pastel, marker, t-shirt, drawings, wedding flowers, quilt, rags, and glue on canvas, 96 x 72 in.
  • Cuts (detail), 2020, paper cut outs, fabric, acrylic and glue on canvas, 96 x 72 in.
  • Ordinary Spheres, installation view
  • Stellar Nursery (detail), 2020, rags hand towels, tablecloth, paper cut outs, t-shirts, glue, acrylic, oil, spray paint, joss paper, and drawings on canvas, 96 x 72 in.
  • (1000)Spheres (detail), 2020, dimensions variable, mixed media
  • Ordinary Spheres, installation view
  • Three Clowns (Anonymous Parts of a Larger Whole), 2019, Egg tempera, rabbit skin glue,newspaper cut outs, and aluminum foil on masonite, 12 x 9.75 in.
  • Additional works, installation view
  • Suns and Moons, 2020, Oil, acrylic, house paint, leather and Boy George puffy stickers on drop cloth, 16 x 14 in.
  • Anonymous Dots (detail), 2020, acrylic, fabric, paper cut outs, muffin wrapper, t-shirt, denim and glue on canvas, 96 x 72 in.