Jonathan Lyndon Chase creates powerful images of queer Black life through painting, sculpture, drawing, and collage. His vibrant visual language, often accentuated with bold colors, glitter, and rhinestones, explores intersections of gender, race, and sexuality through rich historical and pop cultural references. Invoking the work of Romare Bearden and the influence of collage, Chase’s figures intersect and even merge with one another and their surroundings, creating intimate and emotionally and sexually charged scenes.
Chase’s work frequently explores non-binary gender expressions—coupling breasts and beards, for instance, and mixing and matching styles of clothing and makeup. Rapid brushstrokes and pastel drawings accumulate in powerful, expressive depictions of Chase’s friends and peers, offering up new images of Black queer identity. “I’m interested in presenting queer Black male bodies and a more open conversation about love and tenderness,” says the artist. “I’m interested in psychological, sexual, mental, and emotional landscapes and how they affect the inside of the body and outside.” The drawing red top (2017) features a bearded man in a red shirt and hat, made through dense strokes of pastel. A muscular arm crosses his chest, accentuating a stern expression, yet tears line his face, while the outline of a breast is depicted below.
Jonathan Lyndon Chase (b. 1989, Philadelphia) earned a BFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia (2013), and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2016). His work has been widely shown, with solo shows presented at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2020); Pond Society, Shanghai (2019); and the University of the Arts (2013, 2015), among others. He has participated in various group shows, including at Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas (2019); LSU Museum of Art at the Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge (2019); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2018); Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia (2018); Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia (2017); and Green Hall Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (2016). Chase’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Bronx Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; among others.