Lean On Me: Jon Key @ Steve Turner, Los Angeles
The way that JON KEY paints his characters, intertwined, embracing and with a sense of love, there is an immediate connection. Whether you see yourself or friends in these works, or a sense of pride in their warmth and even defiance in some cases, Key has struck a nerve of contemporary life that is rare; how much do we underestimate the power of touch and togetherness?
Steve Turner in Los Angeles just opened Lean On Me, Key's new solo show on view through June 19th, just at the moment that the artist seems to be ascending into one of the great emerging painters of the last few years. In the past, Key has "explored the lineage and history of his identity through four themes: Southern-ness, Blackness, Queerness, and Family," and yet in Lean On Me it feels like a step further into a personal story.
The geometric forms and elongated bodies are wonderful aesthetic choices, but at the center of the work is that connection to each other, how the embraces are shaped and formed. There is a rhythm, almost through chaos and resistance, where these characters can relax together in their own harmony. It may seem naive to note that there seems to be a musical essence to these works, but one can't help but notice both structure and that rhythmic balance. Steve Turner notes a quality of "trust" in each work, and that is it. These are works of trust and empathy, of friendship and love. As Key continues to explore the intricacies of the human experience, we feel just a bit more in sync with a universal sense of connectedness. —Evan Pricco