Shadows and Enlightenment

Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment
July 23 – September 25, 2021
"Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment" exhibition postcard

A solo exhibition of landmark pieces by Chicago artist and Toledo native, Jonathan Ralston.

Depicting architectural elements, the impressive array of exquisitely detailed oil paintings marks the evolution of different styles that have captivated artist Jonathan Ralston through the paths of his travels. The exhibit is comprised of 29 paintings including many new, never-before-displayed works as well as landmark paintings from throughout the artist’s career.

Not only masterful studies of light and form, Ralston’s paintings are also haunting allegories of the human spirit, as conveyed through the grand spaces we have built. Painted in oil on canvas, linen and panel, Ralston further captures the depth and feeling of inhabiting and traversing these architectural spaces through a variety of small to large-scale scale works, some reaching up to 5 feet in width or height.

20 North Gallery and the artist will be welcoming friends and collectors at the free Public Reception for Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment on Friday, July 23, 2021 from 6 – 9 p.m.

The exhibit continues through September 25, 2021.

Click to view the online exhibition catalogue and price list for “Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment,” containing art images of the full exhibit and artist information.

"Chambord Stairs" painting
“Chambord Stairs,” oil on canvas, 2020, by Jonathan Ralston

Jonathan Ralston (Chicago, Illinois)
A native of Toledo, Jonathan Ralston attended Maumee Valley Country Day School. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts) in 1992 and has worked as a professional artist since then. Additionally, for 15 years he served as gallery manager for commercial galleries in Naples (Florida) and Martha’s Vineyard (Massachusetts).

Since 2007, Ralston’s paintings have been included in numerous group exhibitions at prestigious commercial galleries including North Water Gallery, Gardner Colby Gallery, Susan Calloway Fine Art (Washington, D.C.) and Eisenhauer Gallery (Edgartown, Massachusetts), as well as at The Baker Museum of Art (Naples, Florida). In 2018, he participated in the international art competition “ArtPrize,” held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan, across multiple venues including the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum. Additionally, his work has been included in the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society’s (NOAPS) “2018 Spring International On-Line Exhibition” as well as the NOAPS “Holiday Small Works” exhibit in 2017.

Ralston is represented at North Water Gallery (Edgartown, Massachusetts) and Gardner Colby Gallery (Naples, Florida). His work is included in multiple corporate collections and published in “100 Boston Painters” (Chawky Frenn, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2012).

He has enjoyed numerous solo exhibitions at North Water Gallery (Edgartown, Massachusetts) in addition to a solo exhibit, “Structures and Spaces” at Old Town Triangle Association (Chicago, Illinois) in 2017. In 2019, he was honored by his alma mater with a solo exhibit at the Wolfe Gallery, Maumee Valley Country Day School (Toledo, Ohio).

Artist Statement

"Fallen Column - The Caravaggio Series" painting
“Fallen Column – The Caravaggio Series,” oil on canvas, 2021, by Jonathan Ralston

The architect Bernard Maybeck is quoted as saying “Architecture is the handwriting of Man.” What do the buildings that we choose to erect and inhabit say about us, both as individuals and as a society?

I have been exploring these questions for close to 30 years. Through my own connection and reaction to architecture, I would like to think I am speaking to a collective connection and reaction to these spaces.

The visual aspects of architecture: the intersection of geometry, light, and color, are of endless fascination to me. The longer I paint, the more I realize that the repetition of the visual elements (columns, stair treads, stones, arches, etc.) also hold a strong visual appeal to me.

I have always admired and been fascinated by the work of Rembrandt – his rich colors and his handling of paint. More recently, I have also thought about Caravaggio‘s work. It has taken me time to find the way to explore his dramatic lighting in my own paintings. The Caravaggio Series, begun recently and exhibited for the first time at 20 North Gallery in Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment, are the first fruits of that labor and, I think, a successful integration of his dramatic lighting and my subject matter. Some of these new paintings also reflect a loosening of brushwork, a thicker use of painting, and a greater willingness to let the texture of the paint define the shapes.

I have included some older work in this show which should illuminate the evolution of
my work and tease what the future may hold.

Click to view the online exhibition catalogue and price list for “Jonathan Ralston: Shadows and Enlightenment,” containing art images of the full exhibit and artist information.

For purchase inquiries, please contact
20 North Gallery:
419-241-2400  or

Shadows and Enlightenment Installation Images: