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Vulnerable, loving and lawless, Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s book, ‘Wild Wild Wild West / Haunting of the Seahorse’

Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s book “Wilder Wilder Wilder Westen / Haunted Seahorse” is vulnerable, loving and lawless.

By Corey QureshiNovember 13, 2020

Welcome Corey Qureshi, new Artblog contributor! Their first contribution is a poetic review of Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s new book “Wild Wild Wild West / Haunting of the Seahorse”. Her precise, yet delicate language fits perfectly with Jonathan’s vulnerable, time-traveling, genre-setting book.

Jonathan Lyndon Chase, “Wild Wild Wild West / Haunted Seahorse” Capricious Publishing, 2020. $ 40. Courtesy of the artist and Capricious Publishing.

Sadness and desire are two time-traveling emotions. One reflects on what has been lost while the other hopes for positive future moments. In Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s new book Wild Wild Wild West / Haunting of The Seahorse, two poetic and visually layered narratives are dominated by these temporal feelings.

Flip through this book and you will see things like unicorns, space stations with plants, crosses, computers and technology, UFOs, Missy Elliot, 10 gallon hats, and lassos. There is a lot of sex, love, and sadness. This, coupled with a generally contemplative emotional perspective on the nature of relationships, can guide the reader through their own past and future.

Wild Wild Wild West is openly a tribute to Chase’s late grandmother. The artist’s handwritten poems annotate and exist in dozens of scanned images of Jonathan’s life and art. The curation of the materials by designer Jermone Harris helps Chase’s interdisciplinary skills shine when considering her relationship with her grandmother. Grief is filtered through a shared love for westerns, with strange black cowboys and unicorns riding through pages and stages of sadness.

Motif-rich graphics are displayed in various media: beautiful watercolors, lots of pieces of paper that are cropped (sometimes literally cut) to show drawings and writings in marker and ink, scanned Polaroids, more modern photos, collages of screenshots and various cutouts. The effect is exciting in a way that invites you to spend time over and over again, with your impression of the book always changing slightly.

Drawing of a person with a male body riding a unicorn in front of a purple field.Graphic from “Wild Wild Wild West / Haunted Seahorse” by Jonathon Lyndon Chase. Courtesy Jonathon Lyndon Chase and Capricious Publishing.

Haunting of The Seahorse is less autobiographical and takes you into space. Love is still a dominant presence, but the focus is shifting more to romance and family formation than grief. A married and expectant couple takes up an artistic residence in a terrarium / aquarium in the cosmos. The mixed media collage of experiences takes the story and the reader through Issac and Ha’keem’s pregnancy (and the persecution of mysterious ghosts) in space. Wild Wild Wild West definitely had its intimate moments, but Seahorse basks in them. The sexuality is thick and almost palpable. The lovers are isolated together, vulnerable, and forge into unknown parts of their lives.

There are no hard rules in Chase’s universe. Spellings and speakers change frequently, and as mentioned earlier, the media changes in no time. Although the presentation is similar, the narrative styles of Wild West and Seahorse are different. The former, with its threads of open poetry, takes you more through the mood, while the latter is driven by its story. In both cases, Jonathan distorts two time-traveling genres (Sci Fi and Western) with their wonderful visions.

Besides all the ideas, the book itself is a beautiful art object. The clear plastic dust jacket gives the book a rubbery feel. There are two front pages – one per story, each printed on their own type of paper. It could be argued that most of the pages are separate parts. With this in mind, you could leaf through without obligation and still spend a moment with this book. Find a copy and see for yourself!

“Wild Wild Wild West / Haunted Seahorse” by Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Capricious Publishing, 2020. Get it now for $ 40.

You can see Jonathan Lyndon Chase’s solo exhibition, Wind Rider, at the Company Gallery, 73 Allen Street, 3rd floor, New York, New York 10002. On view from September 9th to November 21st, 2020.

You can find more information about Capricious Publishing here.
Learn more about Jonathan Lyndon Chase here.
Listen to Roberta’s 2017 podcast interview with Jonathan.

Bio

Corey Qureshi (she / she) is a Philadelphia-based writer, musician and parent. You work in an LGBTQ + center and are a freelance journalist. You are the creator of the Poetry Mag / Chapbook series PHOSPHENES. More reviews, poems, and fictions from them can be found here.

Keywords

Aquarium, autobiographical, black artist, collage, company gallery, computer, cosmos, cowboys, crosses, drawing, drawings, Haunting of The Seahorse, ink, interdisciplinary, isolation, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Lassos, love, lover, marker, Missy Elliot, mixed Media, Painting, Poetry, Polaroid, Queer, Queer Artist, Sadness, Science Fiction, Sex, Sexuality, Space Stations, Technology, 10 Gallon Hats, Terrarium, UFO, Vulnerability, Watercolor, Western, Wild Wild Wild West, Fonts

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