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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Myth of The Beast

by: Jonathan Kent Adams
Coming out felt like joining the circus. People wanted to see and hear about the spectacle.  A gay boy who loved God in Mississippi. The Myth of the Beast is my way of confronting insecurities and moving into love. The act of painting and imagery used allow an escape from judgment and transition to love.  
In this series, most of the paintings are at night. I want the viewer to feel like they are walking in the dark. The circus elements represent religion and judgment. I paint myself in uncomfortable circumstances and show the viewer that one can still be content. The figures are all self-portraits planted within the landscape with the exception of my love. Finally, the anatomical heart symbolizes that what is within us can unite and set us free. 
Most of my life, I believed I was a beast.  Many LGBTQ+ people feel this way in places that demonize their existence. I grow in confidence by freeing myself from the power of people’s judgement. If I survive the dark nights, I always have hope. My new work challenges the myth in my mind, ignites constructions into flames, and offers a window to where I go to find freedom. 
BFA alumnus Jonathan Kent Adams is currently showing at Southside Art Gallery located in Oxford, MS. 
Southside Art Gallery’s doors are open Tuesday-Saturday from 10AM-5PM and Sunday from 11AM-3PM.
The Artist reception is September 6, 2018 from 5-8PM.

Jonathan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 2014 from the University of Mississippi. From large scale installations to tiny works on paper, Jonathan Kent Adams presents his paintings in traditional and unorthodox ways. This presentation allows for viewers to imagine those who do not follow social constructions existing alongside those who do. “I love the unfinished moments and unconventional presentation. Those moments allow viewers a place to be themselves,” said Adams.  Adams’ work places emphasis on the figure, but also explores communication through still life, video, found objects, and poetry. Similar to contemporary artist, Lesley Dill, Adams creates realities that stem from words he encounters. His work encourages self-discovery amid traditions that often deny the outsider’s existence. (