chapter
3 Pages

Jeff Sonhouse

Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Miles Davis.1 Sonhouse’s “composites” (as the artist refers

to his work) often feature microphones, spotlights, and theatre curtains, further encouraging

music or performance-related associations. However, Sonhouse is driving at something much

deeper than the evocation of funk and jazz. He challenges both the genre of portraiture, by

frequently obscuring the identity of his subjects, and the medium of painting, by collaging

unorthodox materials onto his canvases, such as glitter, match sticks, plastic colored dots, and

beads. In his work, masks are not only a signifier of performance, but allude to racial identity as

a social construct that is imposed rather than voluntarily assumed.