Sweethearts, and the series to which it belongs, See Candy, take their inspiration from the visual cacophony emanating from the average candy section of the average supermarket. My own reaction is to vacillate between an almost childlike wonder at the sheer vibrancy of all the brightly coloured packaging, drinking in the sensory overload, and a more grown-up mode of cynical detachment, a learned defense against our media-saturated environment. In the same way, I think of these pictures as fluctuating between wild amplification and savvy distillation, between hysteria and self-control. Contained, or constrained, within the stability of the square format, each picture, derived from a photograph of an individual wrapper, describes the surprising number of variations in colour and tone that occur across a crinkled surface. Just as a white wall is never truly monotone, so too the limited and often crude palette of a candy wrapper expands massively once it is allowed to interact with the real world of light, shade and reflection. It is in this sense that I view See Candy as a metaphor for my belief that even the dumbest and ugliest things contain kernels of intelligence and beauty. It's all about finding a way to crack the nut.
Jonathan Lewis received a BA in the history of art from Cambridge University in 1993, and he worked in various museums and galleries until embarking upon a full-time career as an artist in 2000. Lewis' practice focuses on branding of all kinds, ranging from cigarettes and soup cans to museums and artists themselves, and attempts to marry narcissistic irreverence with a rigorous aesthetic sensibility. Pictures from his See Candy series have been exhibited at Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York, featured on the cover of Blind Spot magazine and collected by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY. He has also become increasingly active in the field of artists' books, and is a founding member of the ABC Artists' Books Cooperative. Two of his flip-books were included in Ed Ruscha Books & Co. at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in March 2013.