Boyland

Jarvis Boyland - Out

Jarvis Boyland - Out

There’s something different about Jarvis Boyland’s work. Walking the exhibition rooms of Los Angeles’ Kohn Gallery — where Boyland’s “On Hold:” exhibit is on view through Thursday, May 23 — I was arrested by his portraits of Black queer men. Though simple and straightforward, there’s a complexity in the color story, particularly in his subject’s skin tones. They were rich and nuanced and complex, both imagined and realistic, and unlike any paintings I’ve come into contact with.

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Jarvis Boyland - Los Angeles Times

Jarvis Boyland - Los Angeles Times

Diva painting might be its own notable genre, given such exceptional practitioners as Kurt Kauper and Marilyn Minter. Their work doesn’t merely show as vivid, dramatic subject matter an array of imperious opera singers, fashion models, Hollywood icons at home or sex-tape-style celebrities-in-the-making. Instead, it forthrightly asserts that, in an era in which any form of art-making is possible, painting is a diva too.

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Jarvis Boyland - Flaunt

Jarvis Boyland - Flaunt

Boyland’s most outstanding pieces focus on intimate portraits of queer, black men in the comfort of domestic settings, free from the prejudices which follow them throughout their life. Although relaxed, by deconstructing their anxieties, the men are inherently defiant in their abode. On Saturday, April 6th, Kohn Gallery opened On Hold:, an exhibition, which, in conjunction with NY-based artist Heidi Hahn's stellar show, Burn Out in Shredded Heaven, continues on until May 23rd. Flaunt had the lovely opportunity to chat with Boyland on his experiences growing up in the South, the inspiration behind his work, and the power behind portraiture.

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Jarvis Boyland - Chicago Magazine

Jarvis Boyland - Chicago Magazine

Jarvis Boyland came of age in the era of marriage equality but also of tragedies like the Pulse nightclub shooting and high-profile cases of police brutality. So if you sense a certain anxiety underpinning the Memphis-born 24-year-old’s dream-like depictions of black queer home life, you aren’t imagining it. “I’m into the staging of the domestic and what these scenes of leisure can evoke,” he says. His 2017 painting Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Pulse) captures such a moment, at once quotidian and miraculous. “Pulse is me awakening to the possibilities of building a life with a queer partner in Chicago — something I couldn’t do in the South.”

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