Thank you, Will! Today we celebrate A. Will Brown’s 50th and final Fan Mail column, and wish him farewell as he embarks upon new adventures in his job as the curatorial assistant of contemporary art at the RISD Museum of Art in Providence, Rhode Island! We’ll return in the fall with a new Fan Mail columnist, stay tuned for the announcement.
Look closely, what do you see? A blur, a suggestive motion, an image frozen in time—perhaps all of these are visible. Jwan Yosef’s paintings simultaneously contain movement, latent sexuality, tension, and flat, representational arrangements created by combining painterly techniques and unexpected material forms.
Jwan Yosef’s painting Head (2013) exemplifies the artist’s interest in portraying representationally simple motifs with potent double meanings. Head depicts a man’s head in profile, with gently closed eyelids and his lips protruding just out of the picture frame, and it has a subtle sexual quality (a topic Yosef acknowledges and embraces in his work). Is the man engaging in oral sex, fulfilling some act of pleasure just outside the edge of the painting? The figure—the head—is captured with the qualities of a film still, caught within a frozen and blurry moment, depicted in a reduced palette of colors that are rendered in a series of horizontal bands of paint seemingly pulled across a smooth surface—slick and evocative.