29 Dec 2020

Jarrett Key: Chosen Family

Praise Shadows

Reviewed by Franklin Einspruch

Praise Shadows, named in honor of the seminal book on Japanese aesthetics by Junichirō Tanizaki, debuted mere weeks ago on Harvard Street in Brookline with no other gallery nearby. It has selected for its inaugural exhibition the commensurately bold paintings of Jarrett Key. Situated thus, the gallery might reasonably position itself as interior design-friendly. Key's works are nothing of the kind. They are meaty, sophisticated, and implicitly political.

The artist executes their paintings in oil on cement - fresco, technically, but the effect is closer to the high, encrusted volumes of the School of London painters. The subjects are Key's "chosen family of queer Black folx," arranged reverentially in the bucolic landscape in the mode of Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe. Together Again (Chosen Family) (2020) even has the requisite bather in the middle ground, raising a splash of water that becomes a halo behind a smiling, reclining male figure. The aggressive texture of the cement lends an edge to the Impressionist homages, but most prominent is the painting's warmth, both visual and human.

Exhibition Jarrett Key: Chosen Family link
Start date 09 Dec 2020 (45 days ago)
End date 03 Jan 2021 (20 days ago)
Presenter Praise Shadows link
Venue 313A Harvard Street, Brookline, MA, USA map
Image Jarrett Key, Chosen Family (Triptych), 2020, oil on cement (fresco), 36 x 72 inches, courtesy of Praise Shadows
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