Jarvis Boyland: On Hold:

Los Angeles, CA – Kohn Gallery is very pleased to announce On Hold:, the first solo exhibition by Chicago-based artist Jarvis Boyland, opening on April 6 and on view through May 23, 2019. Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Boyland navigates intersections of black identity through portraiture. His paintings focus on queer men of color within intimate spaces. Boyland sees the domestic space as the foundation of social ideologies and an incubator that molds the facade of masculinity. Based on photographic images that the artist reconfigures to create specific compositions, Boyland’s paintings sensitively highlight the nuances of these complex interpersonal relationships, identities, and locales.


The idea of comfort is a recurring theme in Jarvis Boyland’s work. The complex intersections of blackness and queerness shape his delicate renderings of the black male body in repose. The figures in On Hold: dream big and beautifully, yet they are fully grounded and aware in their leisure. Boyland’s palette suggests stillness in the digital age of app culture that shapes modern interaction while evoking David Hockney’s 1970s California and the coolness of Barkley Hendricks. Black bodies are not welcomed in cyberspace but are privileged in Boyland’s paintings. Expectations, aspirations, and dreams that infuse queer experiences come into focus. Situated within domestic environments, Boyland’s paintings emphasize limpness through intimate gestures of distant closeness, overlapping satin garments, and a seemingly shared vanishing point. Coy yet cocky, pretty and promiscuous, commanding yet chaste––luxury is embodied by the three figures waiting on the phone with varied expressions in these slumber-party-themed works. There is tense correspondence, a deliberation about relationships within the group of artists pictured, all of whom grew up in the American South: D’Angelo Williams, Cameron Clayborn, and Jarvis Boyland. Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture brought these artists together and influenced the tone of this series. On Hold: expands Boyland’s oeuvre of queer relationships. Through his aperture, Boyland’s group and individual portraits collectively depict an idyllic sensibility towards reality.


Boyland’s work is currently being exhibited at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN and has been included in exhibitions at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL (2018); Zevitas Marcus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2018); and Blanc Gallery, Chicago, IL (2018). In 2018, Boyland attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME and is currently the Artist-in-Residence for the Arts + Public Life and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2018-2019).

Start Date

April 6, 2019

End Date

May 23, 2019


10:00 AM - 06:00 PM


1227 North Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90038

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