Jon Horvath

Milwaukee photographer, Jon Horvath, really looks at the world…whether it be by using Google Earth satellite images of various Zion Churches throughout the United States in order to explore shape, mass and architecture, or by using excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as source material combined with GPS technology to generate line drawings as evidence of Kerouac’s text being written in the landscape. When he has a camera in hand, Jon is observing the physical environment, exploring the complexity and intangible essence of our world. Some of these interests surely must come from his years in academia. He holds a BA in English Literature and a BA in Philosophy from Marquette University, and an MA in Photography and an MFA in Photography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he currently teaches. He also teaches at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

His work has not gone unnoticed. He was selected as a 2011 Magenta Flash Forward US Winner, has exhibited widely, and has work in the Collect.Give Program. I am featuring two series, both about investigating the intangible, more about the experience than the result, and there is a lightness to this approach, a freedom that comes from the “what if”.

WIDE EYED: Wide Eyed departs from a reactionary response to my surroundings, grounded in a sense of wonder and awe. It is approached with the spirit of the wanderer and emphasizes democracy within the project structure. Wide Eyed persists as the undercurrent of my entire photographic process, bridging the gaps between more pointed investigations.

As a result, this project avoids specificity in content and conceptual motivations. Rather, it functions more analogously to an archive, a database, a repository for meditations, glimpses and passing thoughts about my relationship to anything I may encounter. Wide Eyed is intended to be a breathing body of images; a space to bounce and veer and double back while maintaining the sensation of being in a place of familiarity without specificity.

THE PLASTIC BAG SERIES: PROJECT 1: Photographic sequences seeking to achieve a visual representation of the wind, my favorite stand-alone weather phenomenon. In different times and places, I released a plastic grocery bag into a passing current of wind and followed, photographing the spaces to which I was led. The resulting projects indicate how this intangible entity may observe our physical environment.