Jason Bryant is a man with a subtle disposition and an exquisitely beautiful soul. During his openings you can find him with a glass of wine in his hand, humbly chatting in the corner or in a circle of guests; traces of his southern roots are hardly recognizable in his accent. It is almost as if he has forgotten that the night is about him, instead he allows his work to speak volumes. Devoid of eyes, Bryant’s work challenges the viewer to see the world through his point of view. The realistic quality of the closely cropped images unearth an alluring elegance and symmetry that otherwise might not be seen if the entire inspiration of the work had been simply replicated on canvas. In this way, his artistry gives direct insight into Jason Bryant the man.
Trilogy, Bryant’s latest solo exhibit at Raandesk Gallery, provides further entrée into the mind of this talented artist. Using three diverse concepts, Rubric, Merging Iconography and Symbolic Portraiture, Jason Bryant offers an intimate view of classic Hollywood, skateboard culture and the exhibition of the human form.
Rubric is a series of four paintings whose source images are derived from vintage Hollywood movies such as Wild One with Marlon Brando. Although the eyes are edited out, one can clearly see from the lifelike quality of the paintings that faces belong to Brando, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and others. Instead of becoming just a painting from a movie scene, Bryant transforms the images into something else entirely through thought-provoking copy. The paintings like the films that inspired them are black and white and are no less as crisp and captivating as Bryant’s works in color. Evoking nostalgia and social commentary, Rubric is a luscious addition to Jason Bryant’s body of work.
Merging Iconography are two paintings that successfully blend the realms of skateboarding and film stills. Bursting out of the frame are bold, colorful graphics. Both chic and cheeky the pieces grab you and shake your ideas of pop culture to the core. Equally beguiling as Rubric, Merging Iconography create an elevated, symbiotic union.
Music is as important to who we are as the foods we consume. Symbolic Portraiture cleverly offers viewers a human profile without a face. Instead, the audience sees the back of two women, one dressed in a hoodie, the other in a t-shirt. Album covers on the back of the clothing replace features and expressions. Although, the faces are hidden, viewers see a deeper perspective of the women in the painting. By revealing the album cover that best represents their personality, you get a more profound understanding of who they really are.
Not even torrential rainfall could keep me from attending the opening of Trilogy on September 16. I found myself doing laps around the gallery space constantly changing my mind as to which piece was my favorite. Time after time I find myself entranced by the meticulous, flawless art of Jason Bryant. Trilogy will be on exhibit at Raandesk Gallery, located at 16 W. 23rd Street, until November 12 so you still have time to introduce yourself to the art of Jason Bryant.
Photos: Courtesy of Raandesk Gallery
Slideshow: F.A.M.E NYC Editor