Artist Statement

Jason K. Milburn at Pretentious Tremont Artists Association

Jason K. Milburn drawing a portrait at the Pretentious Tremont Artists Association (photo Tim Herron)

Milburn’s work explores the ways people might try to explain their surroundings or better themselves, such as religion, psychiatry, self-help literature and meditation. Sublimely sardonic, it addresses themes of isolation, interpersonal relationships and the absurdity of existence — often flirting with the existential. (Shawn Mishak, Cleveland Scene)

With characters referenced from the pages of a childhood Bible story book, my recent work explores religion, therapy and self-help culture, the intersection of reality and abstractness and people’s relationship to objects. I use figurative narrative, primarily working on paper with indelible materials like ink and collage, to place rendered figures in an ethereal environment and enigmatic situations with a physical history of corrections and changes across the drawing’s surface. The biblical characters are placed outside their familiar stories, releasing them from their historical identity and weight and reinforcing the humor and irreverence of their enigmatic situations.

Milburn was born and raised in Ohio. He received his BFA in drawing and printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art and MFA in painting and drawing from Kent State University. He has received an Individual Excellence Award and been a summer fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, both through the generosity of the Ohio Arts Council. He currently lives and works in Kent, OH.