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John J. Domont, A Retrospective: Place and Possibility


The graceful, bucolic Indiana landscape has inspired dozens of artists. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, painters settled artist colonies dotted across the state in such places as Nashville, Richmond, and Irvington. Artist John J Domont creates works that juxtapose traditional Hoosier impressionism with otherworldly light and vitality.

Domont's works are featured in the exhibit John J Domont, A Retrospective: Place and Possibility at the Swope Art Museum.

A native of Indianapolis, Domont began his career as a photographer. The young artist endeavored to capture on film, the shimmering effects of light reflected on water. Domont, ever intrigued by the mysteriousness of light, the artist began experimenting with paint and eventually all but abandoned photography. Said the artist of his work, "[In my work, I aim to capture the] three forms of light available to an artist: surface light, the light of nature, and the light of spirit."

John Domont's landscapes are at once familiar and strange. In Crayola Cathedral, a monolithic structure of a barn rises from the center of the painting. Composed of brilliant shapes and planes, the barn appears more like a stone edifice than a wooden barn. The arched windows look more befitting of a European gothic church than a Midwestern stable. A golden barrier of grain surrounds the building while a silver silo stands like a turret astride the barn.

Included in the exhibit and on view for the first time ever is an entirely different body of Domont's work: the Begging Bowl series. John Domont first learned about begging bowls from a teacher in 1985. The instructor excerpted a Taoist script to the young artist, "Come before the divine with a bowl, an empty bowl, a begging bowl." Domont believes all humans are spiritual beggars on the path of self-awareness. For him, the begging bowl is an artistic metaphor that represents receptivity and acceptance as well as a metaphor for the relationship between body and soul. While the begging bowl series seems vastly disparate from the landscapes, both bodies of work exude feelings of placidity and wonder. Summarizes Domont, "my art is about presence and place".

The exhibit John J Domont, A Retrospective: Place and Possibility is on view from November 21, 2003-January 4, 2004 at the Swope Art Museum.

See works by John J. Domont at the artist's website.

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