Jonathan Silverman is a visual artist who works primarily in the mediums of painting, digital painting and video. Of an Anglo-Tunisian background, he was born in Manchester, UK, and grew up in Israel, moving in 2001 to Italy.
He holds a BFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy (cum laude, 2006), and a PgDip from The Royal Drawing School, London (2011). He received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for excellence in figurative painting both in 2009 and in 2010.
In May 2021 he was invited to be artist in residence at Palazzo Monti (Brescia, Italy) , with other residencies including BoCs Residency (2015, Cosenza, Italy) and the Sanskriti Foundation (2012, New Delhi, India.
He has taught at the Royal Drawing School in London, at the IIFA in India, and has been a visiting lecturer at Rhodes University and Nelson Mandela University.
Silverman has exhibited extensively in South Africa and internationally (Italy, UK, Israel, Portugal, India), and has work in various private collections as well as the Royal Collection.
He currently lives and works between London and Cape Town.
Is it possible to be in a forest, but perceive it as a flat screen? Our lives are shaped by our connection to physical reality and our digital experiences, but beyond what we are consciously aware of, our interaction with the virtual has had a profound effect on our psyche. In my practice, I distil images of our natural environment into fragmented landscapes, exploring the space between the physical and virtual. From my personal encounter with the natural world as a potentially alienating space, I am interested in the question of whether our digital lives are divorcing us ever further from the environment and in what ways this detachment is at once natural and dehumanizing.
Through the combination of time-based and hand-made artworks, my work has developed into creating spaces where the physicality of painting is interrogated by placing it in contrast with ephemeral and digital imagery. When successful, the addition of sound and video to painting in this series of works strives to emphasise a sensation of interconnectedness, questioning the transient nature of the image and our perception of physical and virtual reality, while directing the viewer's attention to the underlying mechanisms of painting.