Jonathan Herbert (b. 1952, New York City) explores the nonverbal relationship between cosmology and consciousness. He creates unique, intuitive formulations of water-based paint using acrylic and urethane media made on the spot, mid-process. He explores the nonverbal nature of creative inspiration via intuition. These works examine the richness of the present moment while simultaneously referring to a concurrent interest in the expression of the past, of his traumatic experiences and resulting emotions. Much of his work has been informed by his extremely abusive childhood and the unsurprisingly drug- and alcohol-ridden years of his life prior to 1986. His experiences as a night shift cab driver in bankrupt New York inspired the years-long body of work, Views from a Yellow Cab. He drove a quarter-million miles over the course of five years. An important and interesting and uncommon view of humankind, as evidenced in the movie Taxi Driver.
Herbert received his diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1977. He continued his studies, via an Independent Study Award from the Museum School, for more than a year in Antwerp, Belgium. He began exhibiting in 1978 in Soho and the East Village and has garnered several solo exhibitions. Many of his group shows have been in New York City, including tagging subways and walls in the East Village of the 1970s.
In New York in the mid-eighties, shortly after MacPaint had first been released, Herbert was one of the founders of the Digital Art Movement. During his digital years, Silicon Graphics decorated their entire Seybold booth with his work, flew him to San Francisco and asked him to demonstrate his process during the convention. His digital work has been featured internationally. Herbert for years labored lovingly over the creation of digital medical drawings for pharmaceutical books and journals, continuously expanding his education, which fed his fascination with medicine. His work as a digital artist even led to being interviewed on network TV.
Herbert’s bibliography begins in December 1982, in the regular Cookie Mueller column “Art and About” in Warhol’s Details Magazine. There is also a Jonathan Herbert entry in the Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia. He has appeared in and been reviewed in many publications. Portraits of Herbert are in both Nightline by Peter Donahoe and Taxi: The Social History of the New York City Cab Driver. Herbert’s work is in the collection of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brooklyn Art Library, Pfizer Incorporated, the law firm Kirkland and Ellis, and The Kinsey Institute in Bloomington, Indiana.
Herbert currently lives and works in Sarasota, Florida, where, every day, he struggles to live fully in the face of multiple invisible disabilities including lymphoma, PTSD, and cognitive impairment, most of which result from 9/11 survivorship.