I am a practicing artist, curator, art educator and art historian in higher education and grades K-12 for well over 40 years. My art is about painting specimens from our natural world for the purpose of remembering them when they become lost in our daily lives.
The fast pace of our electronic lives with the increased loss of our natural environment make this need an urgent imperative. I am an explorer painting the underlying features of animal and botanical life. My paintings cannot change the world, but hopefully, change the attitudes that have made humanity blind to this beauty.
My chosen subject matter and techniques are not new. Nor do they comply with what is trending in contemporary art. My work is simply a focus on the world of nature which I believe many have taken for granted. I paint the objects of nature as something special and worthy of our attention.
The College Years:
From 1975 - 1987, I developed and refined my ideas and skills as an artist, art historian, and educator at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and with a graduate degree from The American University. I worked at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of American Art, The National Gallery, was a furniture-maker in Denmark, and curator/visual arts education supervisor for the Academy of the Arts.
THE TEACHING YEARS:
THE TEACHING YEARS 1988 - 2015: These years were marked by teaching art and art history in a range of different situations from elementary to college level. For 16 years, I taught art history at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland as an adjunct professor, and during 15 of those years, I taught digital art full-time in a high school which inspired me to experiment with the connection between art and technology. The resulting work explored a focus on the fragmentation I felt as a consequence of the union of analog and virtual, the natural and the artificial. The looming question was what is originality, uniqueness, and ownership of images and vision in such a technological mediated world.
Article on the work of Jonathan Mann in ARTisSpectrum Magazine:
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