Sounds like a slow burning kiss
Arched up in the back of his car
he was on time
Open and [he/then] slam it
fast and warm
like how he remembers us looking
spit my curls in his arm pit.
- Jonathan Lyndon Chase, 03 September 2019
For their first solo show in the UK - Jonathan Lyndon Chase presents Now I'm home, lips that know my name, an explorative, domestic installation that embraces the Black Queer experience of love, sexuality, subjectivity and identity; and the profound depth of the capacity for intimacy and pleasure in both public and private spaces, that remain central to their practice.
Jonathan Lyndon Chase is an American multidisciplinary artist, whose expressionistic language spans a variety of media, ranging painting, sculpture, video, installation, poetry and sound. Defined by a celebratory and emotive exuberance, their work-as life-is often grounded in the everyday intimacies that arise within domestic environments. It is in these informal settings that Chase portrays friends and lovers at leisure, as day turns to night, and night to day, their bodies reclining, listening to music, involved in acts of pleasure: as individuals, in couples or groups.
Centred around a red brick house structure, Chase's installation reenvisages the gallery space as a sanctuary for the unapologetic expression of the self and communal, non-binary ways of being. Encompassing a new group of paintings, drawings, soft sculptures, installation and a video, their works mediate a kaleidoscope of Black bodies, in which flesh, skin, limbs, orifices and their surroundings overlap and condense into sensual amalgamations. Eluding narrative, time and space are envisaged as compound, their multi-layered, textural canvases and soft sculptures instead conjuring a sensory experience, illuminating their subjects' vulnerability, elation and ecstasy, or the transitory expression of self-actualisation.
Pleasure points, such as the open forms of mouths and nipples, appear as a recurrent metaphor for eroticism, regularly doubling as part of more than one body. In 9 number 8's Harmony of Existence, the interwoven figures' pleasure points become indistinguishable from one to the next to evoke the rawness and erotic energy of group pleasure. Elsewhere, in their new video Vestibule, Chase depicts a montage of mouths viewed in close up, viscerally chewing carrots, or crunching an egg; shown on loop the repeated action amplifies the sensory potency of the action. Of this the artist has said: 'Our mouths are actually the same material as our anus-they're just like on the opposite ends. I like to draw that bodily correspondence together'.
Throughout their work, a visual language of multiplicity recurs, in the fused forms of bodies on bodies and covert motifs-such as flowers, masks, lamps-that self-reflexively revel in the simultaneity of transness and non-binary subjectivity in the everyday. Tattoos of roses appear as a romantic metaphor for the pleasure points; and equally represent non-binary beings. The presence of masks likewise invoke the freedom of self-actualisation, signifying the possibility of multiple identities, role play and protective anonymity - as well as arousing connections with porn and specific type of machismo associated with gangster and rap music of the 1990s-2000s. Speaking of the representation of sexuality in their work, Chase has stated: 'my work is a source to mediate and reflect and to think about different ways that you can exist. There's not just option A or B. There's so many ways you can exist.'
Jonathan Lyndon Chase (b.1989), obtained an MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in 2016. Recent solo exhibitions include FOG, Company Gallery, New York (2022); WEST PHILADELPHIA BORN AND RAISED, Shandaken Projects, Brooklyn (2021); Big Wash, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2021); Wind Rider, Company Gallery, New York, (2020); Pond Society, Shanghai, (2019); Quiet Storm, Company Gallery, New York (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Unmasking Masculinity for the Twenty-first Century, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, USA (2022); Fire Figure Fantasy, ICA Miami, Miami; REPEATER, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2022); WHAT DO YOU SEE, YOU PEOPLE GAZING AT ME, Sadie Coles HQ, London, (2021); New Grit: Art & Philly Now, Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia (2021); New Acquisitions, Rubell Museum, Miami (2018). Chase lives and works in Philadelphia.