Jon Key – Man in the Violet Suit

Posted by Fabio 8 October 2019

As abstractions of the Queer Black Man, a category whose members already walk society as caricatures, Jon Key’s “Man in the Violet Suit” series plays on the assumption of self-portraiture. The subject of the paintings is simultaneously flamboyant and flattened, provocative and subdued. The frame stifles, but the eyes accuse elsewhere. The collaged elements are also painted, claiming the verisimilitude of photography in role but embodying the ambiguity of pictorialization in form; the Man, who may or may not be the artist, explores how distance from perception cannot fully negate the gradation between the viewer and the self.