Jarvis Boyland: Foresight/Insight • Reflecting on the Museum Collection

I feel the need to explore the complexities of both blackness and queerness, and the ways in which their intersections have shaped my experience of loving and grieving — pain and pleasure. Themes in my work stem from highly charged and disjointed emotions as I come to terms with self-identity and unpack my interpersonal sentiments towards men. The process of rejecting my southern, conservative and religious upbringing has shaped the evolution of my practice. Images of lifeless black bodies, consequences of injustice, violence and disease are traumatizing. I want, instead, to question what it means for the black body to be in repose — leisurely, even limp.

My work navigates intersections of black identity through portraiture. Caught between the rock of racism in queer communities and the hard place of homophobia and heterosexism in black communities, my paintings focus on queer men of color within intimate spaces. I am interested in the domestic space as the foundation of social ideologies. I think of the black home as an incubator that molds the facade of black masculinity.

–Jarvis Boyland


Chicago-based artist Jarvis Boyland received his BFA from the University of Memphis in 2017. In summer 2018, he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine, 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, Illinois (2018-2019). His most recent exhibition, On Hold, was with Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles.

Jarvis Boyland’s painting Common House will be featured in Foresight/Insight · Reflecting on the Museum Collection celebrating Johnson County Community College’s 50th Anniversary. On view from July 25 through Oct. 27, 2019, the exhibit will highlight dozens of new acquisitions including works by Hayv Kahraman, Helen Hardin, Katherine Bradford, Joshua Lyndon Chase, Ramiro Gomez, Diego Romero, Harold Smith, Cara Romero, Grace Chino, Glyneisha Johnson, Jonathan Knight, Richard DeVore, Mark Flood and numerous other artists.

About The Author: Contributing Writer

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