Jonathan Lyndon Chase “FOG”

Company (145 Elizabeth St)

poster for Jonathan Lyndon Chase “FOG”

This event has ended.

From the FOG – the title of Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s third solo exhibition at Company - bodies emerge, shaped by memory and myth, fed on desires, born of blood, flesh, and country. Chase, an artist of mesmerizing intimacy and muted, yet surreal wonder, calls forth the histories of their parents into play for this bold, blue show. Taking to water to find inspiration in sailors and merfolk, Chase’s FOG casts a line into archives both personal and communal, pulling something evocative and haunting to the surface. The result is a collection of works that mark new pathways into Chase’s visionary catalogue, deepening the textures and possibilities in the artist’s signature style.

The artist’s father, Lyndon Fisher Chase, passed away months after they were born. Having served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Fisher Chase left behind a collection of mementos and photographs, depicting self-portraits and images of friends and of lovers that speak to a life at sea. Chase revisits their father’s story, unearthing new narratives of a
father barely met, while questioning the integrity of an archive as a whole. Brought to the surface is the artist’s interpretation of their father’s past, through the lens of their own lived experience – unearthing the often-silent history of Black Queer existence and sex in the life of the sailor. In lineage with their father, Chase incorporates the photograph, a medium previously used in their drafting process, onto their canvas, presenting Polaroids for the first time in their works.

The sailor has long been a symbol of sexuality, notably in such bodies of work like TOM OF FINLAND where the power of a uniformed man is exploited and where gay sex is at the forefront. In these drawings, we very rarely see the Black male body alone on its own terms. Chase works to expand these historically limited narratives. Speaking to the portrayal of Black love, Chase says, “Problematically in different modes of media we see Black Gay Queer bodies often paired with white partners specifically in television and film, only now are we beginning to see an emergence of Black-on-Black love stories and visual canons being developed. I seek to add and further those visual canons.”

Chase embraces the legacies of artists that have come before them, drawing inspiration from the likes of Alvin Baltrop, specifically from one of his most celebrated bodies of work titled, The Piers. Baltrop’s photographs captured the legacies of those we lost to AIDS and how gay men found safe haven and refuge in a darkly beautiful space hidden in plain sight. Chase adds marvelously to that canon, through paintings that capture Black Queer lovers in blues as rough as the waters they know so well, sailors caught in ecstasy, in intimacies so natural and ancient that they at times become the water themselves.

Myth and memory are tools that the artist has took up to trouble the sexual, the familial, the nautical, and the fantastical. From their mother, the artist has received the mermaid, which she would paint in watercolor when Chase was young. Here, the mermaid represents an icon attesting to the otherness experienced by many Black Queer and non-binary folks. We see this motif illustrated in states of caress and care – existing freely in the open sea.
For Black Queer folks, Chase continues to sing our song, continues to transport us to places where we are loved, loved up on, fat and fantastic, pleasure bound, sistered and wifed, laid down and done good. Love is the message. FOG continues Chase’s mission to say so. It is not to be missed as this stellar maker reaches into the murkiness of the past and the water to continue to make this message clear.
- Danez Smith



from October 29, 2022 to December 03, 2022

Opening Reception on 2022-10-29 from 18:00 to 20:00

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