Oil on canvas
Unframed: 88.9 x 104.2 cm (35 x 41 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2009.269
Jonson admired this composition, recycling it years later for a mountainous New Mexico landscape painting.
The radically stylized tendencies in Rock at Sea were motivated by Jonson’s earlier work as an avant-garde scenic and lighting designer for the esteemed Chicago Little Theatre. Inspired by the jagged coast of Ogunquit, Maine, the painting’s visionary rendering of nature embodies the artist’s long-standing interest in communicating mystical concepts. Later, Jonson would move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and co-found the Transcendental Painting Group, an association of artists dedicated to expressing the imaginative and spiritual realms through abstract art.
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