It has been a busy summer of art making here at the Bermuda National Gallery as we continue to develop our series of artist-led masterclasses. Most recently, New York-based Bermudian artist Jon Legere led a multi-media collage workshop.
Attendees explored techniques including collage, painting, image-transfer and gestural mark-making, encouraged by Jon to let loose and embrace the unexpected.
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Jon Legere is a Bermudian mixed media artist who works with video, paint, collage, photography and sculpture. He has shown in numerous galleries globally and his collaborative video installation “TURNS” with mentor Margot Lovejoy was part of the 2002 Whitney Biennial in New York City.
His 2020 Bermuda Biennial artwork A Shell Is A Façade, which marks the artist’s fifth inclusion in the exhibition, looks at the enigma of language and how this can be used to both reveal and conceal information.
Jon lives and works in New York City where he is currently sheltering in place. We caught up with him to discuss life in lockdown in one of the cities most affected by the pandemic and how he is using art to make sense of the situation.
BNG: How long have you been sheltering in place and how are you using this time?
JL: I think today marks 43 days. It’s been a wild ride. We have a ten month old beautiful baby girl, a rambunctious seven year old who’s had to learn how to use a laptop overnight for remote classes and a little Havanese puppy. All contained within a nine hundred square foot apartment in Brooklyn. But we are all healthy and staying somewhat sane so no complaints.
BNG: How has this affected your studio practice?
JL: I’ve always been comfortable with chaos so long as I could figure out a way to contain and make sense of it. I haven’t cracked this one yet and that’s the hardest part for me. So I’ve been trying to develop new mini routines which give me a sense that I’ve got a handle on things.
BNG: What are you making and why?
JL: One of those tasks was to organise the flat files in my studio in Greenpoint. I started arranging all of these old drawings, collage clippings, photo copies, notes, photographs, love letters and tape rolls out onto the floor. After examining all the fragments holistically I wanted to stick what I was seeing on the floor to the wall. So I just threw them on the wall with push pins, tape, glue and didn’t care what was exposed or hidden. Stepping back they are like maps. Topographic diaries of life prior to quarantine.
BNG: What creative projects were you working on when the crisis hit and how have these been affected by the pandemic?
JL: So many projects so little time. I was invited for a few weeks residency in Italy this fall which is now on hold. I keep seeing photos from the chateau where the residency is on instagram and it feels like a dream. I think it’s good and healthy to dream into the future.
BNG: How do you think the art world will be changed by this event when we go back to a (new) normal?
JL: The world has already changed and adapted and I don’t think there will be any going back. But this is the case with or without a global pandemic, we are constantly evolving. I think during times like these it’s just more noticeable because it’s happening in such an accelerated real time.
BNG: What is inspiring you at the moment?
JL: Humans. How malleable they are to adaptation and their resilience.
To accompany the 2020 Bermuda Biennial, Jon Legere has produced a limited edition hand drawn poster. Each is one is numbered and signed by the artist. These are available exclusively from the BNG for $50. If you would like to reserve one please email email@example.com.