Langston x The Man (2022)
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This limited edition screenprint is part of Jon Key's latest series of work which excavates the lineage and history of his identity through intersecting themes: Southernness, Blackness, Queerness, and Family.
Screenprinting is a medium perfectly suited to the artist’s graphic style which incorporates flat planes of bodies intersecting with bold patterns. Each of the prints have small hand painted areas which were added by the artist to bring a tactile element to their otherwise flat mechanical nature, giving them a closer relationship to the oil and acrylic paintings in the show.
Borrowing from design history and principles, Key’s contorted hard lined figures are brushed with family histories reflected in Polka Dots and plaids across the surface of his works. In opaque interior and exterior environments that conceal American histories of pain and oppression, Key layers stories of Queer ancestry and archival emphemera and artifacts which offer glimpses of strength, support and resilience.
Jon Key is a Queer Black man originally from the small rural town Seale, Alabama now living and working in Bushwick, NY. A writer, designer and painter, his work excavates the lineage and history of his identity through intersecting themes: Southernness, Blackness, Queerness, and Family.
Jon graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design BA and MA Design Research, Criticism and Writing from School of Visual Arts. Jon currently teaches at Cooper Union. Jon is the Co-Founder Codify Art, a multidisciplinary collective dedicated to creating, producing, supporting, and showcasing work by artists of colour, particularly women, queer, and trans artists of colour.
Jon’s work has been exhibited with Steve Turner LA, Carl Freedman Gallery, Jeffrey Deitch NY and included in personal and institutional collections including Yale University, AIEVA Institute, The Dean Collection, The Watson Library collection at The Met, the Columbus Museum, RISD Special Collection, and the Schomburg Center. Key’s work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. Jon was selected for Forbes 30 under 30 Art and Style list for 2020 and was the Frank Staton Chair in Graphic Design at Cooper Union 2018-2019. Jon recently was awarded Black Visionaries Grant Impact Award from the Brooklyn Museum.