by Jean Sebastien Boncy
In the main room of Jamal’s new show there’s stuff I’m feeling, there’s stuff I ain’t, but the second room stops me right there at the threshold. If you’ve been raised respectful, you take care not to disrupt balance. “A tension so exact that it is peace” is how Robert Adams described bomb compositions, it describes this whole room, and I don’t want my presence, even my breath, to become excess tension.
Art’s not for the timid so I walk in to see if the peace holds. This trio, its dynamic, is sturdy stuff. It’s actually 3 discrete pieces, not an installation, but you know that I’m not in the market for 5 figure art pieces, that I’m not friends with the clientele. This moment, in this white box, is my one chance to live with this stuff and draw from it.
In the frame: The Black Messiah, Live at the Troubadour
The degraded image. Time and light have had its way with it, turning icons and meaning into abstractions. It’s an embodiment of resilience. The elders’ concerns survive as pure form, beyond meaning, but active and communicable.
On the Floor: X-plane
A stage? A rectangle cut out of the stream of the world, set aside for serious business. The oscillator, rapidly switching back between learning and performing.
On the wall:
A jacket behind a bright, flimsy curtain. Something from the patriarch, something mournful. Father at a funeral finally getting the permission to be in his feelings. The stoicism is displaced and he can finally break down and dissolve in tears, in rain.
It’s a living room. A room from a life lived. And it don’t coalesce without the white box. That blankness and that quiet provide the right acoustics for this trio to perform its whispered harmonies.
If you wanna look through my notebooks you’ll find half a dozen places where I’m sharpening my knives, getting ready to come after the white cube. And I will, because the white cube as Standard is a stifling thing. But as an element in the toolbox? Like, there’s still a difference between “The Master’s Tools” and “Tools that The Master has learned to use.” Feel me?
Jamal Cyrus: STANDARDZENBLŪZ
3901 Main St, Houston
Closes Jan 7
Sebastien Boncy is from Haiti lives in Texas makes photographs, eats too much, and loves most of you. Follow Sebastien at