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Jon Langford, Tonight The West is Sleeping

Jon Langford, Tonight The West is Sleeping (2009), acrylic paint/mixed media on plywood [The New Gallery, Calgary AB, Jun 15-Jul 28]

Jon Langford: Old Devils

The New Gallery
Calgary AB – Jun 15-Jul 28, 2012

Jon Langford, Going Down In History

Jon Langford, Going Down In History (2011), acrylic paint/mixed media on plywood [The New Gallery, Calgary AB, Jun 15-Jul 28]

Jon Langford, Insignificance

Jon Langford, Insignificance (2011), acrylic paint/mixed media on plywood [The New Gallery, Calgary AB, Jun 15-Jul 28]

Jon Langford is a Welsh-born musician and artist living in Chicago. As a founding member of legendary British punk rock band the Mekons, he continues to play and record with his original band as well as The Pine Valley Cosmonauts and the Waco Brothers, among others. The Mekons are often credited with single-handedly creating postmodern country and western music, which has been described as a blend of Gram Parsons’s innovation, leftist punk political ideals, and minimalist musical arrangements.

A prolific and respected visual artist, Langford creates striking decorative portraits of country musicians and cowboys, “multi-layered paintings of famous and forgotten figures from the dawn of country music.” His illustrations of Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and other music legends, as well as scratched up portraits of cowhands and other western heroes, can be seen in the legendary Yard Dog Gallery in Austin, Texas, home to Texas folk art, outsider art and funky pop art.

Langford’s artwork is easily recognizable on album covers he has done for supplementary musical projects. The imagery, much of it taken from old country music publicity photos and sheet music, is enveloped in “a haze of ironic nostalgia,” with plenty of scratches, faded edges and scraped surfaces. He writes, “Basically, I create a very unstable surface with acrylics and pastel on top of each other and work on top of that with Sharpies, felt pens, white out, gunk, snot and whatever comes to hand.” His paintings are further characterized by the addition of folksy words and sayings.

www.thenewgallery.org

Mia Johnson


 Mon, Jun 4, 2012