Jean-Daniel was born on the 22nd of May 1960 in Tramelan, Switzerland. Self-taught artist, he presented his first solo show in Montreux in 1986. Three years later he immigrated to Canada and has since called Montreal home.
The work of Jean-Daniel Rohrer is evocative of the mystic tradition and his paintings are like memory maps. They are never caught up in a specific moment in time. Instead Rohrer plays on the ambiguity of memory, and of history, or our collective memory. He works outwards from the centre of his canvas, gradually building a surface that carries a lot of potential meaning. These recent paintings allude to European history, Amerindian traditions, and collectivize these in a way that treats the painterly surface as a field that can receive any number of potential meanings. The canvas surface is a field, and it has markings - letters - stencil marks - directional markers - photo and text images. These works allude to an unconscious, and this in a world where our memory has been disconnected from persona due to the way data, visual and verbal - are now gathered. And so it is rare to find an artist who reads the significance into the vernacular of history, and uses the ephemera of popular culture and imagery from high art together in a single work...
His mixed-media creations employ the concept and image of the scroll, the original form of the sacred text. Runes and glyphs abound on his canvases—sometimes on his "parchments", sometimes floating in the space of the periphery—as well as Latin letters and Roman and Arabic numerals that have been intentionally divorced from their usual functions. There is the play of irony in his work. Some of his ostensibly "sacred" texts are nothing more than pages plucked from newspapers. Elsewhere he uses Catholic iconography to apotheosize the image and not its original contextual subject. Underpinning it all are wefts of painted texture that rival those of the finest Persian rugs. The closer the inspection by the viewer, the richer the reward...
"The world that I paint, that I represent, gives me freedom to explore time. What I capture in my paintings serves as a chronicle in which human figure is a conductive thread. It is the reflection of my heritage."