Hi. My name is Jonathan Edward Raddatz, but I sign my paintings using my initials because they are shorter, easier to remember, and combined they make a nice logo. You can go ahead and call me Jonathan.
I was born in 1975 – you remember… a time when ochre yellow and van Dyke brown ruled supreme, a time when it was okay to ride a bike barefoot without a helmet, not answer your land line telephone when otherwise occupied, and not tweet every inane activity and/or trite observation cluttering your life. Those where GOOD times.
After nearly a decade working in film and television as a writer, director, and editor, I became increasingly disillusioned with this somewhat callow line of work. Remember “The Great Gabsby”? Crass optimism with a dash of cynical wordliness? My 20s hugely reflect the roaring 20s of Fitzgerald’s novel.
I began to paint in 2007 as a new, totally solitary outlet to funnel both my creative impulse and as a means of expressing my larger concerns regarding the human condition and the meaning of this strange construct we call History.
As an artist and human being, I am primarily interested in exploring reality in the largest ontological sense of that word.
We humans seem to process reality on three planes: the physical (or sensual), the cerebral , and the spiritual. To reflect my interest in these three facets of what we externally and internally perceive as ‘real’, I paint in three distinct styles. To wit, I paint landscapes to reflect my interest in the natural world processed by the senses. I paint the inner workings of my mind in an idiosyncratic manner best described as neo-symbolic, where the the reality of ‘body’ battles it out with the reality of ‘spirit’. I paint pure abstraction when I have entered or desire to go to a place of direct cognition of absolute reality and causality. While on the surface of things these are three very different approaches to painting, my desire is that people who look at my art will recognize the body of my work as a holistic, intricately interconnected whole.
For me, painting acts as a perfect counterpoint to my rather rigorous academic research in the field of the philosophy of religions. My paintings are the supra-rational antithesis of rational communication. Faith transcends reason and for me, painting is the visceral departure point for exploring the numinous corridor of what animates my faith and spirituality. My lofty goal can be summarized thusly:
I see my paintings as trans-dimensional portals that allow the viewer to transcend space/time as we normally experience these things. They point to a larger ontological reality that both elevates and humbles you. My goal is nothing more nor less than a theological assessment of the human condition. It is a brutal, yet poignant testimony of that condition in the shadow of eternity.
Aside from painting, I am a dedicated family man. I value spending quality time with my wife and two boys. I also like cats, dogs, gardening and healthy doses of music and literature. I share my time between painting in the studio, translating the Bible and other academic pursuits, and trying hard to be a good husband and dad.