August 21 – September 4, 2020

Jonathan Korotko

Jonathan Korotko is an artist who works with fiber in sculptural form. He visually and critically investigates domestic interiors in terms of gendered power dynamics. Working with yarn and string, Korotko wraps objects and creates new skins for them, cloaking and distorting the often sexualized associations of the original. Playful hand-rendered and applied surfaces create alternative imaginations of opulence and theatricality. He wants people to think about the significance of ornamentation and decoration as part of political mobilization in feminist and queer history. He received his MFA in Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019 and has exhibited across the United States as well as internationally. Jonathan has been an artist-in-residence at Ox-Bow School of Art and Franconia Sculpture Park, and will be a resident at PlySpace, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and Good Hart Artist Residency in 2020.

Artist Statement / Project

I look at how exotic animal imagery was incorporated into ornamental designs and patterns that covered all manners of wall surfaces and furniture in eighteenth-century France, England, and the Netherlands. The popularity of these designs and objects was part of a program of cultivating aesthetic taste that focused on exotic animal imagery as signifiers of class and as vehicles of desire. The pursuit of the exotic spoke to imperialistic ideologies of territorial expansion and the acceleration of consumption as part of fashion under colonial modernity. I would like to combine this historical research of how taste and desire were formed through exotic animal imagery with my long standing interest in perfume bottles. After all, perfume bottles hold scents that are associated with romantic pursuit, which has historically been coded in predatorial terms. The bedchamber, dressing room, and powder room are specifically noteworthy, as these are spaces of self-preparation where individuals are primed for courtship and where they are often surrounded by animal iconographies that allegorize pursuit. How might we think of these interiors as fantasy spaces in which taste and desire are trained in terms of animalistic instincts? How are subjects of conquest and courting imagined through pattern and ornament? 

My new body of sculptures would incorporate fiber-based materials that allude to exotic animal commodities, be it feather, fur, leather, or ivory. This work would begin during my residency at MASS MoCA in winter 2020, during which I will be in the fiber studios to weave tapestries that will be applied as upholstery onto furniture-based wooden forms. I plan to continue this work while at Good Hart.

Community Event

Artist Talk with Jonathan Korotko and Celine Browning