The exhibition For All Intents and Purposes is a visual survey of the relationship between man and material that has run its course. Objects once desired, consumed and since redundant find their way into Jonathan Meyer’s collection of collages, casts and sculptures.
Meyer explores the symbiotic yet dysfunctional relationships between different species in nature and the built environment. Many of these encounters are repeated, relived by ritual. He taps into the reliability of habits to expose the relation between man and detritus often with comical outcomes in his collages. They reveal a fantastical ecology that is deceivingly orderly. Meyer further examines this in his casts. Layers of paper and paint obscure the object until it becomes an imprint. The patterns are mapped out akin to a topographic study. As you look closer, you recognize familiar objects of daily use, trophies of a disposable society.
For a period, while living in Australia, Meyer turns to debris as nature intended. On his walks to the studio, Meyer observed a symbolic juncture where waste washed in and the land, washed out. Here he collected plant material, seedpods and bones that were once protective shields. Stripped of purpose, they become abstract forms placed on a pedestal.
In this diversity of material and technique, Meyer repeatedly goes back to the layers meant to preserve, protect and impress – packaging in nature and of our own making. Remnants of consumption, essential and indulgent, become symbolic. The result is a collection of work that reviews the need to restore. Despite the playful appearance, the works express concerns of survival, to outlive the debris.
Meyer’s art unfolds from a career as an Architect. Traces of a rational practice remains in his taxonomical approach to navigate his collection of found material. Within this structure, the fanaticism shines through as Meyer weeds out memorabilia and residue of excess. Ecstatically for Meyer, his art unlike his buildings, allows room for an uncertain placement, a practice more fluid, intuitive and allegoric.
Albeit the emphasis on materiality, Meyer hopes to capture the ephemeral, a transient tactility. What has come to be part of a personal history? What has been fed into our bodies and minds, how does one process this encounter? The intention is not to impose or judge but a search for what remains of this interaction, what remains of this exchange?
Within these dimensions, we observe what attracts and repels, what stays and seduces. The work questions the meaning of paths, territory, trajectories and contact. As Meyer attempts to rationalize, he often finds mystery build up and myth take place. The attempt is hopeful yet futile, impossible, and in them we see fragments of a society fossilised. For all intents and purposes. It may be.
Text by Mary George