Jon Pannier (American, born 1965) is a New York-based artist whose work examines cultural transformations of the last 50 years. From the 1960’s explosion of advanced psychopharmacology, to the unabashed hedonism of the 1970’s, to the game-changing current political climate, anything that fuels the zeitgeist of a particular era is inspiration for Pannier’s narrative. He creates representational works, overlaid with meaningful symbolism, to reveal facets of our society that have ignited profound and lasting social change.
These four works are selected from Pannier’s Bacchanal Series. Not since pagan Rome has there been an era as giddily hedonistic as the glittering 1970s. Unapologetic pansexuality, along with party drugs like cocaine and Quaalude, fueled an atmosphere of bacchanalian excess in which the relentless pursuit of pleasure was society’s raison d’être. Studio 54 in Manhattan provided the strobe-lit backdrop against which the zeitgeist would play out. In this series, Quaalude’s RORER 714 logo and Studio’s infamous man-in-the-moon-with-a-coke-spoon, become core icons around which a louche 70s narrative unfolds; while Christian symbolism, juxtaposed with debauched archetypes like vampires and diablos, foreshadows the hyper-moral backlash that occurred with the global AIDS pandemic of the 1980s.
As a former creative director in pharmaceutical advertising, Jon Pannier’s approach incorporates commercial art techniques like graphic design, textile repeats, and digital painting. He produces work in unique and limited editions using a hybrid technique of digital printing, traditional silkscreen production, and hand embellishment. Pannier lives in Manhattan and works from his studio at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ.