Jason Bryant

"With most of my paintings, the figure is the focal point, but when all of the elements of the painting come into play, the work really explores the identity of others, not the subject being painted. There is so much to be learned from a person’s portrait, information that goes well beyond the face."

Super Conductor Super Collider, 2014 Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in.

A photo, a fingerprint, a signature, and DNA are all methods we use to identify a person, but they are just a means to match a name or face to an individual, not to describe who they are or to translate their identity. Many levels go into what makes a person’s portrait. It’s a fabric of many layers, intertwined with a person’s favorite foods, music, and movies. I have used all of these concepts in building my portraits. Stemming from my lifelong love of cinema, many of the subjects are actors and actresses. However, I am not commenting on celebrity or the star system, instead I use the celebrity as a hook to bring the viewer in. My work has never focused on the face to describe or examine a portrait. Instead, by cropping or hiding certain features of the face, I add more mystery, bringing us to question who we are and what’s beneath the surface. In my recent series of paintings, I have incorporated my love of skateboarding to explore themes of portraiture. With vibrant visceral iconic skateboard graphics coming from behind or bursting through the elegant black and white images of various actors and actresses, I’ve merged two of the most important parts of my life, skateboarding, and art. I use the traditional format of the portrait, to simultaneously, comment on identity and create portraits that mean so much more than just the individual being painted. With most of my paintings, the figure is the focal point, but when all of the elements of the painting come into play, the work really explores the identity of others, not the subject being painted. There is so much to be learned from a person’s portrait, information that goes well beyond the face.

A Crack In His Faux Finish, 2015 Oil on canvas 60 x 50 in.
Dream I Never Had, 2014 Oil on canvas 36 x 30 in.
Feline Mind, 2013 Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 in.
Lets have one more darling, 2014 Oil on canvas 48 x 36 in.

American painter, Jason Bryant was born in 1976 and holds a BFA in Painting from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC and a Master of Fine Arts from Mount Royal Graduate Program, Maryland - Institute College of Art. Jason’s unique paintings have been featured in a variety of prominent magazines including Juxtapoz, Time Out, Thrasher, F.A.M.E., Flavorpill and many more. He has exhibited extensively throughout the USA and his resume includes more than 15 solo shows, most recently at Equity Gallery, NYC,  Karen Contemporary, Australia and Porter Contemporary, New York. A look across Jason’s portfolio reveals a variety of bold and unique works. The artist has managed to utilize his skill for painting and produce distinctive work that as a series shows a dedication to his concepts and an ample capacity for originality.


Review published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images courtesy of the artist