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Hold, Still

by Jonathan VanDyke

Essay for Shifter 25: Waiting

Ed. by Sreshta Rit Premnath

& Avram Alpert

"How can we create a different model for holding still, one that enacts warmth, reserve, attentiveness, maintenance, thoughtfulness, and receptivity? And one that counters the quick reactions build into social media platforms, and gives preference to positions of sustained listening, checking in, and making sense, while also noting where sense cannot be made. I value action and movement, I'm not arguing that we preference mind over body, or prize academic theorizing over practice. Rather, let's regard pauses as intrinsic to processes..."


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Portfolio & Text for Drain Magazine

by Jonathan VanDyke


Ed. by Dr. Gregory Minnisale

& Avantika Bawa

November 2021

"We assume that living openly queerly has become easier, especially for young people. This oversimplification diminishes the difficulties faced globally by many, if not most, who want to love and express their gender outside of convention. For me, coming out was a matter of palpable risk and sizable loss, and for years I performed as straight. While passing you learn to study and assess what you're up against. Living queerly is a long slow process of losing the grasp of forces that are controlling you, of walking off the lines you're not able to follow. You encounter the tracks of others who have wandered off those lines. Queerness, of course, might be just one of many reasons a person has been pushed aside. Our veering "slantwise" (in the words of scholar Sara Ahmed) might engender solidarity with others who diverge, slant, wiggle, fall, and lose course...."


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Say Her Name: Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells


By Jonathan VanDyke

The York Daily Record (PA)

August 2020

"It would be difficult to overstate the degree of daily prejudice queer people have faced in the US. The Stonewall Riots in New York City, a 1969 uprising protesting constant police mistreatment and brutality against the LGBTQ community, were initiated by trans women of color. Even within the movement itself, trans people were subject to prejudice and exclusion. But their willingness to speak truth to power, and decades of grueling work by advocates for equal treatment under the law, made it possible for me to write this today without fear of putting my life at risk. But our transgender kin cannot say the same..."


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Jonathan VanDyke


By Simone Zacchini

Mia Le Journal

April 2020

"In his stitched paintings, the materials used to form the canvas come both from performative sessions with dancers and from elaborate colouring processes devised by the artist. In both cases, the work of 'dirtying' these fabrics (canvasses, T-shirts, jeans) is extremely time-consuming and is only completed when the artist believes he has enough coloured fabric on hand to create the painting. These are then cut and stitched in accordance with various patterns, some regular, some not, which VanDyke refers to after having carefully designed them: the historical references range from the marble floors of ancient Rome to American quilts from the 19th century...."

                                –Simone Zacchini

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Jonathan VanDyke Interviewed by Daisy Nam

The Rib

November 2018


"DN: The performance sounds like a ritualistic process, which the audience, including the volunteers, could access and experience.

JVD: I once visited the Duomo in Milan during a religious holiday, and they had a series of paintings that were hung high in the air, temporarily, almost like flags or banners. I love this idea of a painting as an event in time, removed from the wall. I’ve also seen Khmer statuary exhibited in museums in the West as priceless objects on pedestals, but in the National Museum in Phnom Penh, these objects are still actively worshipped and given offerings. I was so affected by seeing that.


Quilts live in a hybrid spaces of the sacred and profane. In some cultures, like the Amish, you could describe the patient work of the quilter as a ritual or a form of veneration. In The Patient Eye, I’m ritualizing pedestrian actions–standing, observing, contemplating, being silent. I want to stretch these actions into almost impossibly long, extended gestures. Have you seen the photos of the Hindu Sadhus who hold one arm in the air for years on end? Persistence transforms the commonplace into the sacred...."


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Jonathan VanDyke


by Jared Ledesma

Queer Abstraction Catalog

Published by the

Des Moines Art Center


"As a child, VanDyke's first exposures to Abstract Expressionism were the popular depictions of Jackson Pollock spewing paint onto canvas. 'It dissonated with me,' he admits, 'as a young person, because I felt I couldn't be that: I puzzled over American abstract paintings while puzzling over my emerging queer identity.' Gay sexuality is often equated with sensitivity, and for the aspiring artist, being gay contrasted with the heroism of abstraction. Moreover, during his childhood growing up in the south central Pennsylvania countryside not far from the Amish people, quilting and handicraft were always nearby. Both influences came together for VanDyke, who makes work that confronts Abstract Expressionism's gendered, heterosexual past, and manipulates it through the form of craft..."

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Portfolio for

Vector Magazine

Issue 8

Guest edited by Ellie Krakow

June 2017

Issue launch at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, June 2018


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In a Different Voice

Jonathan Frederick Walz

The Muse, Columbus Museum Quarterly

May 2021

The artist has constructed In a Different Voice in such a way that viewers are invited to explore the verso, circumstances unusual in a museum setting, where walls and frames customarily obscure the backs of hung paintings. If the recto is the "public face" of the object, then the verso is its more private side...

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