Shortly after his first son was born, artist Jonathan Viner naturally had fatherhood and his own childhood on his mind. As children, Viner and his twin brother spent hours visiting the robotics lab at the New York Institute of Technology, where their father taught and worked. Faded memories of “computer nerds” playing Dungeons and Dragons, sharing ideas, and celebrating on New Year’s Eve came back to him as the artist shuttled between infant care, painting and conversations with artists, critics and enthusiasts over Facebook.
Inspired by the stunning impact these unlikely heroes from his childhood have had on the world, Viner began hunting online for class photos of computer science majors from the 1970’s. Those old photos, mined through Google on an iPad, became the starting point for “COMPUTER SCIENCE.” Further influenced by great portrait painters from the canon of art history, including Ingres and Currin, Viner set out to recreate these symbolic figures from his youth, infusing them with all of the idiosyncratic humor and thoughtfulness from his memories. Google, Facebook and Apple are blended with hog hair bristle brushes, oils and turpentine. By merging contemporary content and high tech resources with the centuries-old tools and methods of oil painting, Jonathan Viner pays homage to his own father and to the prophets of Computer Science from his childhood who went on to shape the world in which his own son will grow up.
See Jonathan Viner’s Computer Science exhibit in New York at Sloan Fine Art from March 31st- April 30th.