Selected Works

The three elements in my paintings; figure, ground, and line are almost like the three elements in a band; bass, drums, and lead.

Jonathan Lasker (b. 1948, Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American abstract painter whose vibrant squiggle-filled works playfully interrogate space and movement. An integral figure of Postmodern painting, Lasker creates dynamic compositions that appear spontaneous—as if they are the results of offhand doodling—yet are based on numerous meticulously crafted small studies. The artist initially aspired to be a professional musician and toured internationally as a bass guitarist before returning to the United States, where he studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at California Institute of the Arts. The frenetic energy of his paintings reflects this early musical training.

Lasker uses repeating motifs and forms throughout his work, which he rearranges in compositions using a logic he has described as a “jigsaw puzzle” approach. He works primarily in oil on linen but has also created lithograph editions and works on paper. The art historian Robert Hobbs includes Lasker in a key group of conceptual painters he terms “meta-abstractionists”; this group also includes Ross Bleckner, Peter Halley, and Mary Heilmann. Lasker has written extensively on his own work and that of other artists, and many of these texts were compiled in the 1998 book Complete Essays: 1984–1998.