Work by John Domont is currently on exhibit at his Domont Studio Gallery.
Artist John Domont is known locally for his brilliantly hued paintings of carefully drawn but surreal landscapes, ethereal, almost floating begging bowls and lush florals. But Domont is also gaining recognition outside of Indianapolis. A retrospective at the Swope Museum of Art in Terre Haute this past year, numerous ribbons bestowed by the Hoosier Salon and the smattering of inclusions in exhibits outside the city are all evidence that Domont’s presence is being felt farther and wider.
Nurturing an artistic career takes time, but it also requires persistence and patience, and many artists tire of the journey and move on to other, more steady incomes. Domont, though, is in a unique position to cater to his own artistic drive as well as the community’s. Through his gallery, Domont Studio Gallery, Domont has built up a vibrant stable of artists whose work holds up well under the subtle lighting and impeccable wood interiors of his contemporary space on East Street as Indianapolis art patrons come and go and their buying power dwindles and then resuscitates.
Domont, though, continues to paint. As Domont told me, “The challenge is always about being here, experiencing the ‘now’ in a real human way.” Domont’s current exhibition of his own landscapes is evidence that the artist is still joyful, still grateful and still paints from a place of wonder and appreciation for the good stuff. “They’re just really my offerings for being here,” Domont says, referring to the roomful of work, which reflects a revisiting of sorts of earlier expressions.
While Domont departed from the quasi-representational and moved into the abstract upon his return from China and Nepal as part of his Creative Renewal Fellowship a couple of years ago, the mind-widening experience seems to have stayed with him. Landscapes such as “The Crayola Cathedral #2” are quintessential Domont — blue roof of the barn, for example, should not be taken literally but interpretively. Domont’s work goes beyond the dexterity of impressionism and into an over-the-top playground of light and color where he can get away with a blue-lidded barn with orange and red facades, and it still has the sweetly lulling effect of a placid, if idealized, farm scene.
The exhibition is consistent along these lines: the paintings are electric and yet contained by concrete imagery — the aforementioned barn and others like it, a swath of gleaming trees, an Indiana sky in Caribbean blue, an egg yolk sun. These are sacred spaces to Domont, and he honors them accordingly.
A Perfect Place: New Paintings by John J. Domont is on view at Domont Studio Gallery, 545 S. East St., through June 19. Call 685-9634 for hours and information.