Lotus Portal, 2013
Acrylic, Gouache, Plaster, and Wood
14 x 14 x ⅞ in. 

Navigating the Waves of Being, 2013
Acrylic, Plaster, and Wood
13 ¾ x 13 ¾ x ⅞ in. 

Portal to the Luminous, 2013
Acrylic, Plaster, Antique Hardware, and Wood 
11 ⅞ x 11 ⅞ x ¾ in. 

Unfolding the Luminous, 2013
Acrylic, Plaster, Panel, and Wood
34 ¾ x 34 ¾ x 2 ½ in.


My works in “The (UN)FAIR” are part of my “Axis Mundi” series, which is a collection of mixed media paintings inspired by the concept of Axis Mundi (meaning, ‘axis of the world’). Axis Mundi refers to the still point around which all of the universe is rotating and has been thought of as a portal between the earthly and heavenly realms in various religious and mythological traditions. In some pieces, this "center" is shown as a glowing light, symbolizing a place beyond time, and as you move outward there is rust and decay, representing the impermanent and temporal nature of life. In other works, I use the timeless image of a horizon where primordial waters meet an endless expanse of sky to represent the axis of the world.

In a broader sense, I am exploring the concept that hidden elements are at play beneath the surface of our perception, and that what we perceive may not be what is there in reality. I experiment with illusionism and the ancient technique of trompe l’oeil (meaning “to fool the eye”) by painting flat, 2-dimensional imagery to appear folded, photographic, or otherwise 3-dimensional. In this manner, I create images of windows that open up to an alternate realm, revealing an expansive ocean horizon or a glimpse into the inner workings at play behind the surface. In many pieces, a luminous light radiates from these symbolic portals into our world.

I am continually drawn to oceanscape imagery, as it suggests an open, enduring quality that transcends past, present, and future. I view this ocean metaphorically as “the ocean of being”. Our minds, left unattended, can endlessly churn out thoughts, much like swirling clouds in the sky that dissipate into each other. This cloud of thought is often repetitious and is usually anticipating future events or lost in memories of the past. Behind this ceaseless torrent, there is an ocean of boundless calm, rooted in the present moment, that can be accessed through stillness. In this day and age, with our increasing reliance on technology and our hyper-paced speed of living, the mind rarely gets a chance to be quiet. My works are inspired by these notions and invite the viewer to question what is perceived, look through illusion, and step into “the Ocean of Being”.

I make a variety of artwork, including paintings, works on paper, and mixed media hand-painted assemblages; however, painting is the foundation of my art. People often ask if my work involves photography, but that is not the case; the imagery is all painted by hand using a combination of airbrushing and traditional paintbrush techniques. My mixed media works blend painting with sculpture and assemblage. I typically paint on wood constructions, and often build my underlying structures using salvaged molding, discarded wood furniture, and a myriad of other “gifts” I reclaim from the alleys. Aesthetically, I am interested in evoking a timeless nostalgia that you can't quite put your finger on, but gives you the distinct sense that you are observing an artifact or “machine” from another time or place. Objects of antiquity have fascinated me since childhood and I am consistently drawn to relics that show how time has weathered them over the years. I often layer paint and plasters to replicate the look of rust and patina, strategically sand and distress my pieces to achieve an antiqued feel, and/or integrate real antique or vintage parts (like hinges, gauges, and handles) and other sculptural elements. Rusting surfaces, antique hardware, and oxidized metals all play a part in creating the feeling of a bygone era that I aim to capture in my work.

About Jason Brammer

Jason Brammer is a Chicago-based visual artist known for his distinctive mixed media works, paintings, murals, and site-specific installations. Brammer’s art has been featured in numerous exhibitions at venues including the Hangaram Design Museum (in Seoul), 751 D-Park (in Beijing), La Luz De Jesus Gallery, the Illinois State Museum, Verge Art Brooklyn, and SCOPE Miami Beach. Brammer’s work is in the permanent collections of the Rockford Art Museum and Zhou B Art Center as well as in private collections across the continent. Brammer has also created prominent commissioned installations and other works for clients including LinkedIn, the city of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, IV Lab Recording Studio, and Dark Matter Coffee as well as concert posters for My Morning Jacket, Todd Rundgren, and Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy. Brammer studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design and at Indiana University, but his current work evolved mainly from years of independent practice.