"I won't be happy till I'm as famous as God."
Stop, drop and roll, baby, 'cause you are on fire! Just for you, Like the Spice presents an exhibition of new works by Jason Bryant. Now you'll have a chance to stare. Jason's unique approach to popular culture and his lavishly detailed, pristinely finished canvasses and drawings make this show a must-see.
Mirrors are so shiny that you can't see them; you can only see yourself reflected back. Jason Bryant's paintings are a half-silvered mirror, reflecting and clandestinely observing consumer culture and it's effects simultaneously. Vigorously cropped, these works narrow our focus to cultural and emotional markers. (Who are you wearing tonight? Don't you just love it?) We're never quite sure if the subject is a celebrity or just the kid down the block, but the smiles seem like they might be faked and the clothes look like costumes. Each persona is a mask made for public presentation. Sometimes fake smiles are a natural reaction to an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes they are simply the default mode.
Bryant's paintings and drawings restage cultural performances like headshots and advertisements but reinvest their stars with a bit of privacy, a bit of agency. Ironically, by cropping out the eyes and other foci, the faces seem more truthfully expressive; they express the importance of the mask. Fake is the new real. What if you called a press conference but all you could do was smile? What if that made you indestructible?
Jason Bryant (b. 1976) grew up in rural North Carolina. Encouraged by his mentor, Paul Hartley of East Carolina University, Jason's fascination with drawing was replaced by a love for painting. After receiving his BFA, Jason moved to Baltimore, where his internship for the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture introduced him to many of the contemporaries with which he works today.
His relationship with this community of artists was furthered when he was accepted to the Maryland Institute College of Art, and he received his MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art graduate program in 2004. He moved to Brooklyn in 2005 and began work as an assistant to artist Kehinde Wiley.
Jason's work has broad appeal, and has appeared in multiple shows, from Nebraska, North Carolina and Maryland to New York, L.A. and London. In the past four years, Jason's paintings have been chosen for such publications as The Baltimore City Paper, Link Magazine, Direct art Magazine volumes 5 and 7, and New Art International. Jason believes his art attempts to reflect our world back at us, and tries to better illuminate people's understanding.