Jonathan Durham is an artist working in sculpture, performance, video and installation. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA and in 2007 completed a two- year residency at the CORE Program Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Durham's sculpturally driven practice examines power structures as layered networks subject to the shaping forces of human desire and environmental phenomena. His work has been exhibited internationally including Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Galerie fur Gegenwartskunst, Bremen, Germany. He is the recipient of an Aunspaugh Fellowship from the University of Virginia where he received a dual BA in Studio Art and Psychology. He has taught Sculpture, Drawing, Performance and Critical Issues Seminars at the University of Virginia, Rice University, University of Houston and Auburn University. Durham has participated in numerous residencies including Recess, Inc.“Session", SHIFT -The Elizabeth Foundation, Socrates Sculpture Park EFA Program, Bemis Arts Center, and is a forthcoming resident of Sculpture Space, Utica (NY). Currently he is a 2020-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow.
My work in sculpture, installation and performance explores the impressions that industry and technology impart on our bodies and the environment. Knowledge of my body, its injuries, geographical connections and generational losses form the spatial and psychological conditions for the work. The materials I use are both natural and manmade. I am drawn to objects that elicit feelings of comfort or harm, authority and the acquisition of resources. Industrial equipment, dry goods, tobacco, vehicle wreckage, fracking drill bits, police batons, video cameras, gun magazines, hardware, pipes, bones, human body parts, clothing, plastic helmets, trilobite fossils, even walnut brownies are all grist for the sculpture mill. Following these objects' own internal logic, I look for ways to subvert their intended meaning into markers of “a body.” I use traditional techniques like carving, modeling and casting, along with newer 3D modeling/printing and CNC processes. I also work with sound and video as sculptural materials. When casting objects or surfaces, sometimes I forgo the actual pattern and work with the mold as a way of exploring the literal impressions that these objects make in our lives. At times the sculptures are indecipherable from the actual reference objects and call into question a crisis of information - what is fake, and what is real. At other times the works resemble fossils derived from everyday products and equipment, and thereby point to a capitalist endgame. In recent projects my subject matter has come from descriptive sources like my own dreams or actual events that have been shared by people I’ve interviewed.