by Debbie Tuma
Colm Rowan, owner of Colm Rowan Fine Art in East Hampton, likes to find truly fine artists, whose work is unique and original. But after years of being in the art business, he has come to find out, as he says, “Originality is the most difficult thing to achieve. It takes courage to be brave enough to achieve something new. Some artists never seek it. They don’t take any risks.” But when he discovered Sag Harbor artist Jonathan Nash Glynn, he saw the boldness and uniqueness in his large abstract expressionist paintings.
“I regard him as a true artist, not content to replicate what’s gone before,” said Rowan. “He’s motivated by a desire to find the unknown in his painting. His aim is to create something new….it’s a very elusive goal.”
Rowan selected one of Glynn’s largest abstract paintings, called “Magnetic Series 3,” to be in his Winter Gallery group show from December though January, 2022, and soon he is having a solo show of Glynn’s work, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 23. It will consist of about a dozen of Glynn’s vibrant, colorful abstracts in layered bold colors and shapes.
As Glynn was pouring, swirling, and tossing layer after layer of acrylic paint on his floor to ceiling canvases, in his Sag Harbor studio, he explained what makes his work stand out. “Basically, it’s an internal aesthetic that comes out while I’m painting, which differentiates myself from anyone else,” he said. “It’s my own personality…I like to have the colors, forms and shapes challenge each other to make the painting dynamic and original.”
He said he gets his inspiration from the “unknown,” pictures of outer space, as seen through the telescope. “There are phenomenally interesting swirls of stellar information that are depicted through the Hubble Space telescope,” he said, saying he saw these images online. Glynn also got some inspiration from piloting his private plane over the Caribbean islands, when he flew to Haiti on several missions to help the people there recover from the 2010 earthquake. “Looking down on this island, from high in the sky, it looked like an abstract painting, and the image stuck in my mind” he said. He later started a non-profit Hamptons foundation, “Wings Over Haiti,” to help build schools and educate kids there. Glynn is donating 25 percent of any sales from his show at Colm Rowan, to this cause. His website is www.wingsoverhaiti.net
When asked why he chose the abstract style, Gynn replied, “It’s colorful, multi-layered, and emotional, without being figurative. I recently moved in that direction. Especially out here, there’s a whole tradition of abstract expressionist art. I was influenced also by Jackson Pollack and Willem deKooning. But I created my own style.”
While talking, he started to finish one of his many huge paintings, propped up on the walls of his large studio. He applied paint with squeegies, squeeze bottles with tips of different sizes and apertures, and even his hands—to get the layered effects he desired. He used gold and silver leaf, charcoal, acrylic paints and a shiny resin—equivalent of 60 coats of varnish, on most of his paintings, which brings out the original luster of the paint.
Colm Rowan later explained that abstract art originated in Europe with artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, and that Jackson Pollack was known for his Gestural abstraction and action painting, or “action art,” which evokes strong emotions. “It evolved with Pollack and other artists, and Jonathan Glynn aims to be part of this continuum,” he explained. Glynn said he looks forward to his April 23 opening, and his show continuing through May 15. “By showing my full body of work, I’m better able to show the full range of sensibility and personal style,” he said.
The public is invited to this opening reception, on Saturday, April 23, at Colm Rowan Fine Art, at 55 Main Street, on the walkway between Main Street and the parking lot of Ralph Lauren barn, in East Hampton. Call 610-256-3256 or visit www.colmrowan.com.