• Am I a Joke to You?

    Ink, Watercolor on collaged Decorative paper How does a minority work within a Eurocentric system? Do they perform and become the best joke or die outside of it?
    8 x 10.5 inches  |  2019

  • Ghosts

    Ink, Watercolor and Gold on Paper In January 19’ a bag of bird seed was thrown on the neighborhood porches with a letter of call to action from the Klan.
    22 x 30 inches  |  2019

  • I Want to Be Better, Please Show Me How.

    Ink, Ruby Powder, Gold Powder and Watercolor on Paper At the time didn’t know wither to go my own path or become like the people who take advantage; I just wanted out.
    33.5 x 40.5 inches  |  2019

  • Cataclysm 2

    Ink and Gold powder on Paper I wanted to have a pure representation of trauma or conflict. This became the reasoning for the drawings of dirty storms.
    10 x 11.5 feet  |  2019

  • Finish Your Plate

    Ink on Decorative Paper Investors consistently taking the detritus of other businesses, homes, lives and assimilating them to maintain power.
    8 x10 inches  |  2019

  • Intimate Me

    Ink, Graphite and Colored Pencil on Paper It felt as if everyone was watching me growing up. Watching…Patiently, for mistakes. So, they can take me away.
    15 x 22 inches  |  2019

  • Cataclysm 3

    Ink and Gold powder on Paper I wanted to have a pure representation of trauma or conflict. This became the reasoning for the drawings of dirty storms.
    10 x 11.5 feet  |  2019

  • Dominion

    Ink, 24K Gold leaf, Gouache, Acrylic, Crayon, on Paper Growing up, I never understand lavish homes; They always make me uncomfortable. As if I don’t understand how to live or operate in their world.
    22 x 30 inches  |  2018

  • The Arrival / Pale Blitz

    Ink, Gouache, Decorative paper, Acrylic, on Paper The moment when perceived power comes in vicinity. I wonder if my father’s arrival to this country was as devastating as the colonists.
    22 x 30 inches  |  2018

JONATHAN ADAMS Website CV

Tri-cities, TN | Painting, Mixed Media, Drawing
Bio:

I was born and raised a Black/Latino man in the primarily white Christian south of Bristol VA/TN. I felt culturally isolated and that the narrative that was given to me was not my own. Lacking a personal cultural narrative led to difficulties finding a community and understanding my bi-racial identity. Within this fraught environment, visual art became a bridge of understanding for initiating dialogues and introspection. As a result, my work blends mythologized observations of the Appalachian region of America, personal narrative and the shifting socio-political landscape to explore the limits of identity and the human condition.

I am continually inspired by contemporary and past artists. After working with Kara Walker, I better understand the implications of having one’s subjectivity relate to the work and the skill of relieving one’s artwork of having to carry all the answers to every conversation. I feel akin to Michael Armitage’s representations of oppositions, as his depictions of multiple vantage points highlight the totality of the region's discourse. Finally, Honoré Daumier is someone I cannot ignore. Daumier’s scathing caricatures and deft hand helps me understand how a drawing can control a narrative and create social change.

Each work begins as a piece of writing or a photograph that I have taken or found. The process of translating the research materials into a visual language becomes a meditation on the subject and removal of bias; As I work, I only seek to compare, empathize and understand these observations. Upon completion, I refer to the finished entry and even compare it to other works.

This diaristic approach allows me to shed light on and create a discourse around veiled narratives such as humanization of black diaspora and facets of power structures in the historic South. Furthermore, by engaging the language of graphic novels, each piece is an aspect of a larger narrative furthering the story in different ways by their juxtaposition to other works. I wholeheartedly believe that imagery is passed down as information and becomes an agent of change through creation and dissemination. That by creating the work, I can further my horizons of understanding, push for emotional vulnerability and hope to inform viewers of these struggles.

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