Jonathan Kirk was born in London, England in 1955. He earned his BFA from St. Martin’s School of Art, London and his MFA from Syracuse University. Kirk has received several awards and grants including a New York Foundation for the Arts Sculpture Fellowship, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants and an Individual Artist Grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation. His work is represented in the collections of Colgate University, the City University of New York and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, New York. Kirk was Studio Manager at Sculpture Space from 1980 to 2000. He continues to live and work in Utica, New York.
Argonaut is a steel sculpture reminiscent of the coiled egg case of a species of octopus belonging to the genus Argonauta. Its spiral shape is also similar to a ram’s horn—in this case, the ram that was the source of the golden fleece in the mythical tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece. As Kirk explains, “An Argonaut is also a seeker; the heroes who sailed on the Argo with Jason were searching not only for the Golden Fleece, but for the adventure and knowledge. Also, the spiral is a common shape in nature—in seashells, fiddlehead ferns, and galaxies, so the sculpture is open to many interpretations.”
“My relationship to Sculpture Space is different from the other artists in this exhibition. From 1980- 2000 I was studio manager and I have two decades worth of stories I could tell. But for now I’d like to describe how Sculpture Space helped foster my own creative process. The studio was a kind of pressure cooker. Artists came for their two-month residencies and the pressure was on. The energy was there and I could tap into it. The most important thing about the studio, however was a certain intangible something created by the brotherhood and sisterhood of artists working together. This was the real electricity, and when it was in the air it was the most precious gift.”