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Jeff Sonhouse

Jeff Sonhouse Audrey Bossuyt

268 pages
Distanz Verlag Gmbh Llc

Mysterious Protagonists of a New Consciousness of Skin Color and Identity

Jeff Sonhouse's (b. New York, 1968; lives and works in ibid.) painterly practice melds disparate materials to envision novel identities and biographies. Sonhouse's distinctive vocabulary includes the use of cut and collaged magazine images, carefully patterned matchsticks, steel wool and soldered metal, set against his carefully rendered painted illusions. His figures—always men—are mystic, though without reprising familiar myths. They could be harlequins, artistes, seers, or shamans. Their faces usually hidden by masks or oversized hats, their expressions enigmatic and inscrutable, they often gaze into the distance, attired in flamboyant solid colors. Sonhouse's characters escape the identity trap of our contemporary politics and society, which ultimately turns Blackness into a series of commercially manufactured attributes. They show us what African Americans, people from the Caribbean, and other members of the African diaspora might be if our imagination were unshackled from the dialectics of oppression, degradation, and heroic transcendence. They propose a vision beyond old paradigms of the Black man's identity. In Sonhouse's portraits, Blackness emerges as a set of keys that open the doors to a hitherto undreamt-of freedom to forge new identities.

The monograph offers comprehensive insight into the artist's oeuvre, surveying his output of the past 20 years. An essay by Erin Dziedzic accompanies the richly illustrated study of Sonhouse's art.

Author Bio
Jeff Sonhouse was born in New York where he currently lives and works. He is an American contemporary painter whose painterly practice melds disparate materials to envision novel identities and biographies.